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First Data, iMALL Launch MerchantStuff.com

First Data Corp. through its subsidiary First Data Merchant Services and iMALL Inc. launched a one- stop solution for Internet merchant wannabes at MerchantStuff.com.

The solution is the first initiative resulting from FDMS and iMALL's strategic e-commerce agreement. The new Web site offers at a single source all the key components required for merchants to quickly and easily begin selling products and services through the Internet, the companies said.

Available are: site creation and hosting services; e-commerce services; merchant credit card accounts; payment gateways and the capability of driving traffic and transactions to merchant stores.

"FDMS' strategy is to offer a complete suite of Internet-related business services that our clients can leverage to help drive sales for their merchants, regardless of their size," said John Duncan, FDMS executive vice president. "This market-leading solution, the first one-stop enablement portal for e-commerce, allows our clients to rebrand the services to acquire new merchant accounts, differentiate themselves in a competitive environment, retain existing customers, and attain greater merchant satisfaction and profitability."

The solution offers simple user interfaces to guide merchants through the steps needed to successfully drive sales. One of its key components is VirtualApp.com, the first-ever automated Internet approval and activation system for merchants. VirtualApp.com provides e-commerce capabilities, allowing merchants to securely establish accounts, receive online credit decisions and begin accepting credit card payments over the Internet within a day, the companies said.

"The integration of iMALL's proprietary Internet commerce solutions with First Data's unrivaled processing expertise and online account application technology offers small to medium size merchants their first true opportunity to engage in meaningful e-commerce," said Richard Rosenblatt, iMALL chairman and chief executive officer.

"MerchantStuff.com is the first 'merchant portal' on the Web. It is directly focused on enabling merchants and takes a merchant's perspective toward e- commerce by delivering all of the core components required for successful retailing on the Web."

A fully integrated payments gateway is embedded into the MerchantStuff.com solution. The gateway allows merchants to accept and verify payment transactions in real time

MerchantStuff.com's suite of services also includes products developed using iMALL's technology platform--StoreWizard, AddonWizard and BrochureWizard--that are designed to correspond to various stages of the e-commerce start-up process.

StoreWizard is a transactional Web storefront created for merchants seeking to accept online, real-time orders using shopping carts and online product catalogs. AddonWizard adds full transaction capabilities to any Web site. BrochureWizard, which helps merchants build brochure sites within 30 minutes, is a non-transactional Web site providing product, location or company information.

To increase traffic and transactions to the participating merchants' physical and virtual stores, two shopping portals are integrated into this solution: StuffMall.com, a shopping portal that aggregates merchant stores and Stuff.com, a shopping portal and search engine that aggregates product-level data. Merchants using this integrated solution will have their Web stores automatically listed in StuffMall.com and their individual products listed in Stuff.com.

First Data and iMALL, in conjunction with a variety of partners that can rebrand the mall, said they intend to aggressively promote these shopping portals to help drive traffic to the participating merchants.