Takes On Big Brands

iMALL (Nasdaq: IMAL) will be adding 14 new major brands to its product-based shopping portal, The new brands will bring’s product line to more than 2 million, raising the stakes in the crowded Internet mall segment, which includes rival shopping channels at AOL, Infoseek, and Lycos.

New brands to be added include Toys “R” Us (NYSE:TOY), Skechers, Music Boulevard (Nasdaq:NTKI), Pet Warehouse, Seattle’s Finest Gourmet Coffee, Fitness Zone, Candy Direct, Game Keeper, and Officemax (NYSE:OMX).

iMALL also indicated that several additional retailers will be added shortly, including Skymall (Nasdaq:SKYM), Onsale (Nasdaq:ONSL), Rubbermaid (NYSE:RBD), and Omaha Steaks.

What effect will iMALL’s strategy have on small and medium-sized Web businesses that turn to portals such as for increased traffic?

iMALL’s chairman and CEO Richard Rosenblatt contends that the new additions to are meant to “address the needs of shoppers who want an easy way to find unique products from small merchants, as well as the brands they are familiar with online.” However, iMALL’s bid to attract customers to its site with big brand names may crowd out, and ultimately cannibalize, business for the small sites.

iMALL also plans to enhance its product search capabilities, and will offer online shoppers driving directions to each merchants’ “brick and mortar” location.

Beyond the News

Founded in 1994, iMALL is based in Santa Monica, California. The company operates an Internet shopping mall, The company offers e-commerce services directly to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as through partnerships with ISPs, Web-hosting firms, and financial service companies with an Internet focus.

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