Clasps Hands with Consumer Reports, a Los-Angeles, California-based merchant ratings site, announced Monday that venerable consumer resource Consumer Reports will feature its ratings and research in both the print and online editions.

The agreement is significant for, which is fighting it out with a number of other merchant ratings sites for control of the up-and-coming service sector of the e-commerce industry.

“Consumer Reports has decades of history as the foremost authority for impartial consumer information and advice,” said BizRate CEO Farhad Mohit. “As an Internet start-up, its is a tremendous honor for to be selected by and working with such an organization.”

The company’s merchant ratings will be included in the magazine’s 4.5 million-circulation November issue and also online, where Consumer Reports has a paid subscriber base of 310,000. That makes it the largest consumer subscription site on the Web, according to the company.

Rating the Ratings

BizRate was founded in 1996, making it one of the veterans of the online merchant ratings sector. The company’s ratings system is compiled from the feedback of millions of online consumers from some 1700 online merchants’ sites.

BizRate says it extracts and analyzes information from 43 percent of all online consumers. The information is then plugged in and rated for attributes such as ease of ordering, product selection, on-time delivery and price.

Like Consumer Reports, the company claims to be a completely impartial and independent observer. BizRate has licensed its service to America Online, Lycos, Go2Net, Microsoft Networks and the Go Network.

Earlier this month, BizRate signed a partnership agreement with Media Metrix, the e-commerce measurement service, to expand their e-commerce ratings system. The company was provided with some $20 million in a second round of financing in July.

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