Yahoo Goes Comparison Shopping

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On Tuesday Yahoo is set to unveil a host of new products and services designed to increase traffic between its e-commerce, Web hosting, and search properties, including a product search service and three online merchant packages.

In the search category, the Internet company will introduce a search service that allows users to compare items and prices from different merchants, according to Rich Riley, vice president and general manager of Yahoo's Small Business division.

The new product search will bolster Yahoo's Shopping channel and is aimed at taking on competitors such as Google's Froogle offering and other shopping sites.

Web Hosting

The company is also rolling out three new e-commerce packages from its Small Business division, which are integrated with its Web hosting services, according to Riley. The packages offer domain name registration, business e-mail, Web site hosting, and e-commerce functionality such as online payment processing, order management, and marketing tools.

"We are very excited about our new product line because everything runs seamlessly together, from our e-commerce packages to our hosting platform," Riley said.

Users of the merchant packages will be able to leverage the new product search service, he said, in a move to tie together all of Yahoo's e-commerce services.

Down to Business

On Tuesday, the Small Business division will also introduce a new Business Center, which allows users to integrate services from a single page. The product, according to Riley, is an "online dashboard" that offers access to business services such as Web hosting, Net access, e-commerce, and advertising tools.

The offering is aimed at simplifying and expediting small merchants' online presence, according to Riley. Although the U.S. has 23 million small businesses, some 15 million have no face online, he said.

Yahoo plans to expand the Business Center product with updates from SiteBuilder, the company's Web site building tool, and search-related marketing services from Overture Services, which Yahoo is in the process of acquiring, Riley said.

The Merchant Starter kit is priced at $39.95 a month, with a 1.5 percent transaction fee and $50 setup fee. The Standard package, which has more advanced marketing tools, is priced at $99.95 a month, with a 1 percent transaction fee and $50 setup fee. The Merchant Professional package, which has tools for high-volume inventory and the ability to integrate with small-business systems, costs $299.95 a month, with a 0.75 percent transaction fee and $50 setup fee.

The small-business offerings are currently available in the U.S. only, Riley said. He added that the company was evaluating its options for bringing the services to other markets.

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