ASP Targets Online Sales

Startup CrossCommerce this week makes its debut with a hosted application service that lets Web site operators display and sell any of about eight million items, including computers, clothes, flowers or books.

The company's e-Merchandising Platform works by having the Web site operator install the CrossCommerce XML-based plug-in on its Web server so product images and sales information can be fed by the CrossCommerce service. When a buyer selects an item for purchase, CrossCommerce handles the credit-card transaction on behalf of the site.

"We have 26 categories of products," claims Peter Nordberg, CrossCommerce's chief executive officer and co-founder, and former CEO of applications server vendor WebLogic, recently acquired by BEA Systems. Items for sale include hardware and software obtained through distributors TechData and Ingram Micro, books from wholesaler Baker-Taylor, and all the items in the Montgomery Ward Catalog. Information on these items, and more, is stored in a back-end Oracle8 database.

CrossCommerce locates its Sun hardware and WebLogic software at hosting company Exodus Communications, with CacheFlow providing page caching. While the service won't be generally available until late next month, some Web sites evaluating the commerce-enabling hosted application service say they are enthusiastic about it.

"It will be helpful in letting us offer gift-related items," says Santanu Dasgupta, a vice president at USAGreetings.com, which offers free online greeting cards and plans to introduce items for sale shortly through CrossCommerce.

The AltaVista search engine site, altavista.com, has also been evaluating the e-Merchandising Platform. "We're very impressed," says AltaVista's Director of Search Engineering Don Dodge. "It's a promising way to handle e-commerce without any investment on our part."

CrossCommerce plans to earn revenue based on an agreed percentage of the sale price.

CrossCommerce plans to use the CyberSource fraud-detection service to weed out credit-card fraud. The company will handle the tough problem of item returns through a processing center and a toll-free support number.

CrossCommerce is at http://www.crosscommerce.com/.

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More about AltavistaBEABEA SystemsCacheFlowCrossCommerceCybersourceExodusIngram MicroMontgomery Ward

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