Startup Offers E-commerce Setups For Small Businesses - InformationWeek

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Startup Offers E-commerce Setups For Small Businesses

Internet newcomer today launched a suite of products and services designed to help businesses offer distributed, localized Web sites while maintaining central control. The suite also gives smaller companies a chance to establish Web businesses.

The Siteman suite of tools and services lets organizations deploy and maintain centralized control of a distributed network of individual, locally created Web sites. The suite includes Siteman, a Web-site creation tool, and Siteman Storefront, an E-commerce tool for building catalogs, filling orders, and processing transactions.

Companies can use either or both of the tools to design Web-site templates that govern the overall look and feel so they can control use of branding and logos. Then, a local division of the company or a customer can access the centrally branded site, select a template, then walk through four steps to build their own Web storefront.

Knight Ridder's Internet division, Knight Ridder New Media, is using's products on some of its online regional guide properties, which in turn sell the Siteman capabilities to merchants in their regions wanting to establish Web sites.

"We're trying to give merchants in our markets an easy-to-use tool that enables them to build an online store quickly and easily," says Emily Lyons Soelberg, E-commerce business development manager at Knight Ridder New Media.

Vernon Keenan, an Internet analyst at Keenan Vision Inc. in San Francisco, says's offerings can help franchises and small and midsize businesses take advantage of E-commerce opportunities. "If they want to get online, this is going to be a smooth, easy-to-use system to do it."

The Siteman software is server-based and runs on Unix and NT. Companies can run their own Siteman sites; also provides hosting services, or the companies can opt to publish Siteman sites to another hosting service.

Available now, pricing is based on the number and types of sites that need to be created and whether or not hosts the application. Monthly costs range from $50 to $200 per site.

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