REDMOND, Wash., and BRISBANE, Calif., July 12, 2000 — The MSN® network of Internet services and Epinions.com, the Web site for trusted consumer advice, ratings and reviews, today announced a strategic agreement. The companies plan to integrate the Epinions.com service into MSN eShop, the one-stop online shopping resource, providing consumers with the information they need to make the right buying decisions. For the first time, the 39 million unique visitors to MSN each month will be able to read real opinions from real consumers when deciding which products and services to buy and which to avoid. The companies also plan to implement a joint marketing and promotional campaign.
“Consumers need trusted recommendations from people just like them in order to feel confident that they are making the right buying decisions,”
said Lora Shiner, director of the Consumer Group at Microsoft Corp.
“Epinions’ content provides online shoppers with unbiased information and builds on an array of quality shopping resources from MSN to help shoppers find exactly what they want.”
“People searching for answers need other people,”
according to Datamonitor’s 2000
“People to People (P2P) eCommerce Information Exchanges”
report. The report states that people-to-people e-commerce information markets are emerging as viable commercial entities that will facilitate over $50 billion in online purchases over the next five years. According to the report, Epinions.com has
“one of the most powerful and scalable models in the space, making the company extremely well positioned in the race to the top.”
“We are thrilled to begin our relationship with one of the most successful technology companies in the world,”
said Nirav Tolia, CEO of Epinions.
“The excellent MSN brand, large user base and leading services align with our strategy to provide millions of consumers with the advice, ratings and reviews they need to make informed purchasing decisions.”
Epinions.com covers more than 150,000 products and services, including cellular phones, baby bottles, books, colleges, casinos, rock bands and running shoes. As the premier provider of consumer advice, ratings and reviews for MSN eShop, Epinions.com will supply content to be integrated at the category, subcategory and product levels (e.g., content can be accessed whether users are searching under electronics, DVD players or the Toshiba SD 3109). Users of MSN eShop also will be able to submit their opinions on products and services.
The integration of Epinions.com’s consumer reviews is one of a number of improvements MSN eShop announced today that offer consumers the most complete array of decision-support resources. Other enhancements include a redesigned home page that simplifies site navigation, expanded search capabilities, enhanced gift-finding services in the new Gift Center, more prominent display of sales and deals, and a new Best Seller list that makes it easier for consumers to find the hottest-selling products.
Epinions.com ( http://www.epinions.com/ ) is a leading Web site for trusted consumer advice, ratings and reviews. It offers more than 1 million consumer reviews and comments on 150,000 products and services. Epinions.com also offers links to the Web’s best professional reviews and shopping resources. The company has received numerous accolades including Yahoo! Internet Life’s Top 50 Most Useful Sites, Yahoo! Internet Life’s Top Five Most Useful Shopping Sites, PC Magazine’s Top 100 Sites, Industry Standard’s Top 10 Companies to Watch, and the People’s Choice Webby Award for Best Service. Founded in May 1999 by Internet veterans from Yahoo! Inc., Netscape Communications Corp. and @Home, Epinions.com has received financing from Benchmark Capital, August Capital, Goldman Sachs, Dell Computer Corp. and Bowman Capital. The company has more than 100 employees and is headquartered in Brisbane, Calif.
MSN is the network of Internet services from Microsoft that helps people better organize the Web around what’s important to them. The network of MSN services, located on the Web at MSN.com ( http://msn.com/ ), helps people easily stay in touch with friends and colleagues, make smart and secure purchasing decisions, and get more done. MSN offers award-winning e-mail functionality; personal communications services; wireless services information; customizable access to news; popular sites for personal finance, travel, automotive services, shopping and more; an online community; a Web search engine and directories; and top-rated Internet access.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.
Microsoft and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
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