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Affinia Launches E-Commerce Service for Small Sites

Affinia launched an e-commerce service that lets operators of small targeted content sites, personal homepages and online communities set up a "storefront" filled with products their site visitors are most interested in buying.

The service, called the Affinia Commerce Network, allows small site operators to select relevant items from a database of products drawn from thousands of merchants and provides a simple, Web-based storefront builder.

Site operators are freed from the hassles of transaction processing, inventory storage, and shipping, the company said.

"The e-commerce revolution of the past two years has completely neglected the needs of small Web sites," said Kris Hagerman, founder and CEO of Affinia. "What we're delivering is an easy-to-set up, easy-to-use contextual product storefront service that will allow thousands of small content sites to participate in the riches of the online shopping phenomenon. The site creators are free to do what they do best -- provide entertaining and informative content for their audiences."

Traditionally, small Web sites have not been viewed as significant revenue-generating candidates for retailers' affiliate programs. However, taken as a whole, these sites generate 85 percent of page views on the Web, Affinia quoted Forrester Research as saying.

Affinia said that more than 1,000 merchants are participating in the Affinia Commerce Network, including Reel.com, PlanetRx, eToys, Garden.com and Fridegedoor.com.

The product database uses a patent-pending "Relevancy Engine," which maps the product data into a logical classification. Affinia accomplishes this by combining human and computer intelligence. Working with a set of proprietary tools, Affinia's team of "cybrarians" methodically remaps products into a universal, browsable and searchable framework, the company said.

Small Web sites participating in the Affinia Commerce Network pay nothing to set up a storefront. Together with Affinia, each receive a referral fee of 10 percent of a product's purchase price. Affinia pays out referral fees on a quarterly basis.