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Vcommerce, iBelong Plan Storefront on AFL-CIO Site

Outsourced e-commerce provider Vcommerce Corp. established a strategic relationship with iBelong Inc., creator of Internet portals for affinity and commercial groups.

Together, iBelong and Vcommerce said they will provide a customized storefront for the AFL-CIO's new Internet community called Workingfamilies.com. Workingfamilies.com is an AFL-CIO initiative that helps make the Internet more accessible and affordable to union members and their families.

"By creating a custom portal for each union involved in the Workingfamilies.com effort, we help unions connect with their members, and their members with one another," said Shikhar Ghosh, chief executive officer, president and co-founder of iBelong.

"However, to achieve all our goals, we needed the flexibility to customize a storefront for each portal, provide high service levels, and offer a deep assortment of merchandise to members. Vcommerce met all of our requirements and more."

Vcommerce said it built a fully merchandised custom store for the AFL-CIO's Worker Friendly Marketplace, "where members can be assured that no products are manufactured under sweatshop or anti-union conditions."

Vcommerce will handle all of the hosting, transactions, order fulfillment, and customer service. In addition, Vcommerce will assist in merchandising and marketing programs for the storefront.

Financial arrangements among the entities involved were not disclosed.

Vcommerce (formerly Vstore.com) offers a comprehensive and scaleable end-to-end infrastructure that enables both large and small sites to integrate e-commerce into their existing online business.

Vcommerce powers over 200,000 storefronts through its Vstore Solution, and also operates custom-built solutions for About.com, MyFamily.com, NeoPlanet and Excel.

iBelong develops and manages customized portals, or Internet "start pages," for non-profit and commercial membership groups. Its proprietary technology allows group members to personalize their portal so they can receive group-centric information, as well as current news, financial data, local weather and other services. iBelong now manages 47 such portals, which combine commerce and community features.