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AltaVista's Shopping.com Launches 'Ultrastore'

On the heels of its acquisition by CMGI, AltaVista's Shopping.com launched a new format for online shopping that it calls the Ultrastore, offering a new auction feature, satisfaction guarantees and up-front product availability and shipping information.

Shopping.com's new Ultimate Brands Auction will auction a wide variety of name brand merchandise across all seven superstores, starting at $1 with no reserve price restrictions. Ultimate Brands Auction items will be featured on a rotating basis, with five new products added to the auction every three hours, seven days a week.

The company said consumers now will get product availability and shipping information directly on the product information page, before they commit to purchase a product. This is accomplished by allowing consumers to access detailed product inventory -- along with exact shipping costs based on ZIP code.

Shopping.com provides cross-category product recommendations that are presented to customers at checkout.

Shopping.com is also offering a 125 percent satisfaction guarantee. If a customer is not fully satisfied with a purchase for any reason, Shopping.com will provide a full refund, plus a Shopping.com gift certificate good for an additional 25 percent of the original purchase price. There is a limit of three purchases per year; $100 per purchase.

Additionally, once a purchase has been made a trained staff of personal assistants is available seven days a week to help customers, both via e-mail and by phone.

"The synergy created by AltaVista's advanced technology combined with Shopping.com's dedication to superstore merchandising and customer satisfaction is unparalleled in online shopping today," said Rod Schrock, president and CEO of AltaVista Co.

The launch also includes a simplified design of all Shopping.com superstores, including computers and office, books, music and movies, home electronics, toys and baby, home improvement, sports and fitness and gifts and home. The company said the stores feature 1,500 retail categories containing more than a million name brand products.

On the AltaVista Search results page, results will be complemented with relevant product offers made available by Shopping.com.