NOTHING BUT NET

CLICK-AND-BRICK WARS: CIT Commercial Services’ annual “Retail Outlook,” released last month, said that merchants online are seeing expenditures rise as competition on the Web intensifies.
“Merchants are having to pay more not only for Web advertising links — that is having their logo appear on major Web portal sites like Yahoo! and MSN to increase the flow of traffic — but also for Web designs,” the report said.
Apparel and luxury goods Web sites require elaborate graphics, and a cybershop can cost anywhere upward of $1 million, it said. The report also noted that Nordstrom allocated $10 million of its own money plus an additional $16 million in venture capital to develop two Web sites.
Although e-tailing accounted for less than 2 percent of total sales in 1999, CIT expects a war mentality among the click-and-brick retailers, with stores finding ways to provide customers with “real thrills” to get them into the stores. Adding to the mind-set is a growing percentage of Americans online. According to the report, 45 percent of U.S. households own a PC and 25 percent are online. Those not connected at home gain access through work and schools.

NAME DROPPING: Time is running out for Internet Shopping Network, which in February was told by a Manhattan federal court to change the name of its Web site, firstjewelry.com.
Internet Shopping Network found itself in the hot seat when First Jewellery Co. of Canada Inc. challenged the American firm’s use of its Web site domain name. The Canadian firm uses a British variant in the spelling of its company name, which it registered as a trademark in 1990. The federal court judge found that the defendant’s use of the similarly spelled name could confuse consumers.
Jeff Kaden of Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman, counsel for the Canadian firm, said Internet Shopping Network has until mid-April to make the name change.

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