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E-Commerce Companies Form Merch.net Association

A group of e-commerce companies said they have teamed up, creating Merch.net, an alliance aimed at providing retailers with educational services highlighting "best practices" in the e- commerce industry.

The announcement was made at the eRetailing '98 conference in New York City. Charter members include BizRate (of Binary Compass Enterprises); Impulse! Buy Network; Inktomi; LinkShare Corp.; and Netcentives Inc.

Merch.net plans to host merchant forums and workshops and to publish periodic research studies, white papers and case study reports covering all aspects of implementing a successful online commerce initiative.

"As more and more merchants incorporate e-commerce into their operations, it's important that they be fully aware of the wide range of valuable tools and resources that are available to them," said Mark H. Goldstein, president and CEO of Impulse! Buy Network.

"Merch.net's members are independent entities each possessing keys to unlocking the potential of the Web as a commerce tool. By engaging in this collaborative effort, we can leverage our collective strength to benefit merchants and promote the overall growth of the e-commerce industry."

Merch.net will sponsor ongoing forums, designed to educate merchants on proven practices that maximize sales and traffic. Utilizing the research methodologies and resources of Merch.net partner Binary Company Enterprises, the group will also conduct studies to identify trends and innovative end-to- end e-commerce solutions. Merch.net plans on publishing these research findings in quarterly "Best Practices" reports.

Merchants also will be able to tap into Merch.net's resources through the Merch.net Web site, which will include e- commerce information as well as industry news and links.

"Our goal is to become the first stop for any merchant looking for the information and technical resources to drive their online commerce initiatives," said West Shell, president and CEO of Netcentives.