RealTime IT News

A Lifeboat for Sinking E-Commerce Sites

Minneapolis-based e-commerce outsourcing company Digital River Inc. launched an "E-Rescue Program" for online operations faced with service providers and/or hosting companies that are failing or have already gone out of business.

"An increasing number of e-commerce service providers are shutting down operations or battling layoffs, revenue shortfalls, slowing sales and growing debt," said Joel Ronning, Digital River's CEO.

"Unfortunately, it is often the companies receiving services from these e-commerce service providers who are the last to learn the real facts about their vendor's financial instability," he said. "In some cases, companies are left hanging when their sites unexpectedly go dark. We can offer these companies a transition plan to a world-class e-commerce system that can keep their e-businesses growing."

The E-Rescue Program can restore downed sites in as little as seven days, the company said, adding that it already serves over two million Internet pages per day and handles hundreds of thousands of orders per day for its 8,000 client companies.

There's no doubt many ISPs are in trouble. Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia upheld a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission, which says that incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) are not required to offer discounted pricing of advanced telecommunications services to ISPs.

The ruling was a blow to many ISPs who are trying to glean a profit from the largely unprofitable residential digital subscriber line (DSL) business. Providers counted on discounted pricing from the Bells to increase margins, but the FCC and the courts felt a proviso in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 addressing the discounted sale of advanced (Internet) services applied only to the end-user.

Digital River's commerce services include e-commerce strategy, site development and hosting, order and transaction management, system integration, product fulfillment and returns, e-marketing and customer service. Clients include Symantec, Fujitsu, 3M, Siemens, Nabisco, Polaris, Novell, Autodesk, SONICblue and Adaptec.