iMall Shines at Internet World

In a sea of lavishly high-priced neon and metal-framed exhibits at Spring Internet World in Los Angeles, iMall Inc. (Nasdaq: IMAL) “stole the show” — drawing a huge crowd of visitors to the company’s booth. Despite intense competition for the attention of show attendees, newcomer iMall proved that high-quality e-commerce services are at the very core of the global Internet buzz.

While much of the e-commerce industry is focusing on the highly lucrative business-to-business segment, momentum is gaining for business-to-consumer online shopping services like iMall.

Technology, Not Hype

With a seemingly infinite number of Internet technology and e-commerce heavy hitters, one might view the industry’s spotlight as an elusive target for a relatively new online shopping company. However, iMall has adopted a largely pragmatic attitude — one of confidence in its service. The company has wisely chosen to focus on technology improvement and quality of service, rather than on the hype that often rings hollow in the Internet industry.

Whereas many Internet technology companies continue to concentrate solely on marketing the excitement of the World Wide Web as mankind’s latest and greatest infatuation, iMall, on the other hand, has invested heavily in building a solid technical infrastructure to enable long-term growth.

For example, in March 1999, iMall acquired San Francisco-based Pure Payments Inc., which provides critical components for Internet-based credit card processing. The deal benefits iMall’s online merchants and it benefits the company, as well. According to iMall, the integration of Pure Payments’ services into the iMALL solution speeds merchants through the store building process by eliminating many time-consuming steps required to integrate payment processing into their Internet storefronts.

At the same time, with this acquisition, iMall will be able to increase its revenue-share from each transaction in its mall, by adding the payment gateway fees to the charges already paid by merchants to iMall.

New Faces

The company is also in the process of developing its e-commerce operations center in Provo, Utah under the leadership of Phillip J. Wundley, PhD, IMall’s chief technology officer. Dan Odette, senior vice president of Marketing is also based in Provo, allowing for seamless communication between the technology and the marketing aspects of iMall’s operations.

iMall also bolstered its executive lineup with the recent appointment of Joseph H. Ruszkiewicz, 39, who serves as the company’s chief operating officer and executive vice president. Prior to joining iMall, Ruszkiewicz worked for AT&T’s WorldNet Service, where he held several senior management positions and was instrumental in the establishment of strategic product partnerships with Netscape, AOL, Disney, Dow Jones and others.

Richard Rosenblatt’s Vision

As iMall announces that more than 1,000 merchants have already opened shop in its Stuff.com Internet mall, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, Richard Rosenblatt, told the E-Commerce Times that he expects to see no fewer than 500,000 online vendors operating in his mall, within the next two years.

He may be right After all, Rosenblatt, who recently turned 30, is setting policy for an e-commerce company with a market capitalization of approximately $300 million (US$).

Evidently, when Richard Rosenblatt talks, people listen. In related news, Internet Gift Registries, Inc., owner and operator of WeddingNetwork.com, a free online bridal registry service, announced on Monday that Richard Rosenblatt, has joined its board of directors.

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