eCongo To Host Co-Branded Web Stores, a provider of free e-commerce services, announced yesterday that it will host and manage up to 100,000 co-branded Web stores for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and portals that wish to offer free Web stores to their customers.

“We will authorize up to 1,000 free Web stores to an ISP or portal, who can then offer these free Web stores to their customers,” Maury Domengeaux, vice president of marketing and sales for eCongo, told the E-Commerce Times.

eCongo will host and manage the stores, deriving revenue from commissions on transactions as well as advertising. The participating ISPs and portals will receive one-third of the transaction commission collected by eCongo.

The merchants at the free Web stores can offer unique products. Each merchant does its own shipping, but eCongo handles the transaction, which can be completed via credit cards, online checks, cash or COD.

Importantly, eCongo puts limitations on the type of products that can be included in order to avoid pornography sales. “We use sampling to make sure the merchants are selling appropriate products,” said Domengeaux.

Smart Online Will Offer eCongo Sites

One company, Smart Online, Inc., announced that it will offer eCongo’s free stores to its customers, but anticipates utilizing more than the standard allotment of 1,000 free sites.

“Smart Online is a special case because of its large base of small companies,” said Domengeaux. “We work out individual arrangements with ISPs or portals with a significant customer base.”

Smart Online will offer turnkey e-commerce services as one of its business productivity applications, allowing small companies to create free Web stores.

Smart Online and eCongo will share revenues generated from advertising, payment processing and other premium services provided to Smart Web Storefront merchants.

“Our partnership enables us to deliver a strategic e-commerce service to our existing Web-hosted business productivity applications,” said Michael Nouri, president and CEO of Smart Online.

With the free Web stores, eCongo will provide merchants with multiple integrated payment methods, interactive customer service, shipping and delivery management, advertising services and a merchant network that allows Web stores to link with each other.

Heavy Traffic

In order to sustain the potential traffic propelled by thousands of Web stores, eCongo has installed a scaleable system that can manage up to 65 million hits per day, 25 million banner ad impressions per day and 20 million online payment interactions.

eCongo is the first company to offer bulk co-branded free Web stores to ISPs and portals. Domengeaux expects competition in the future, but does not foresee immediate competitors.

Domengeaux also said that eCongo is in the process of developing a warehousing and shipping component to be added to its Web store services for merchants.

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