Web Commerce: Cruising the Online Mall

It's retailers--not shoppers--that now demand more bang for their online bucks

When Bill Strauss, CEO of Proflowers.com wants to move lilies or tulips, he doesn't just show them on the company's website. He heads to the mall. To be more precise, he gets help peddling his petals from two of the largest malls on the Internet, shopping areas at Yahoo.com and MSN.com that, like their bricks-and-mortar counterparts, put lots of different stores under one (virtual) roof. While teaming up with a mega-portal to help boost business is not new, the terms of the deals have changed, and that's altering the business equation for retailers and the...

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