Bluefly.com Expands Alliance With Inktomi

Online retailer Bluefly.com (Nasdaq: BLFY), which sells designer apparel and accessories at outlet-store prices, announced today that it has expanded its strategic relationship with Internet infrastructure company Inktomi (Nasdaq: INKT).

Under the terms of the expanded alliance, Bluefly gets added exposure on Inktomi’s Shopping Engine. Bluefly’s products will now be featured within the shopping engine’s merchandising platform, which delivers targeted e-commerce offerings to potential shoppers across many of Inktomi’s portal-site partners.

Bluefly and Inktomi originally formed an alliance in October of 1998 that allowed Bluefly to integrate its products throughout the shopping engine, an e-commerce platform that powers sites including the Go Network, LookSmart, iWon.com and Merrill Lynch’s Web site.

“By expanding our alliance to include targeted merchandising within portals running the Inktomi Shopping Engine, we will now be able to promote specific product offerings directly to the shoppers that will be most interested in them,” said Jonathan Morris, executive vice president of Bluefly.

Bluefly Also Partnered with Yahoo!, AOL

In addition to its presence on the Inktomi Shopping Engine, Bluefly has strategic alliances with other major online destinations such as Yahoo!, America Online, Excite, Lycos, MSN, Netscape Netcenter, theglobe.com, Tripod and Women.com.

All the distribution deals seem to be paying off during the holiday season. The Associated Press reported Monday that Bluefly’s orders last week were up 11-fold from a year ago.

Last Thursday, Bluefly announced that it had expanded its content deal with Hearst Magazines. Hearst’s Esquire and Marie Claire magazines will supply exclusive content for Bluefly on a monthly basis beginning in the spring of 2000. Bluefly had previously announced a similar deal with Hearst’s Harper’s Bazaar in August.

“Traditionally, consumers decide what to buy after absorbing a full spectrum of information in a process that begins well before the shopping trip,” said Ken Seiff, CEO of Bluefly. “Television, people on the streets, friends and fashion magazines all influence the purchase decision.

By simultaneously providing our customers with trusted fashion advice and the ability to buy the hottest fashion items in the same environment, we can collapse the purchase process to the point where opinions are formed and purchases are made with the point and click of a mouse.”

Stock Impact

Shares of Bluefly gained 11/16 to 15-3/16 in early trading today. Last Tuesday, Gruntal & Company, which maintains its outperform rating on Bluefly, raised its long-term price target on the stock to $25 a share.

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