IDG’s WebShopper Opens for Business: One-Stop Shopping for IT Buyers; Premier E-Commerce Site For IT Business Buyers Goes Live

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 30 — WebShopper, International Data Group's (IDG) latest electronic commerce offering on the Internet, announced today that it is open for business. The e-commerce site (http://www.webshopper.com) is designed for business buyers of IT products, and offers users selection from an inventory of over 30,000 products, comparative specifications, plus a secure environment and access to current product buying information from leading IDG brands including PC World, InfoWorld and Computerworld.

"WebShopper exemplifies IDG's vision of the transactional, direct-response model serving the millions of IT buyers who are making computer product purchases over the Internet," said Kelly Conlin, president of IDG.

According to IDC, the amount of commerce conducted over the Web is expected to grow dramatically — from $2.6 billion last year to more than $220 billion during 2001.

"We set out to create one-stop shopping for IT buyers by providing the convenience of e-commerce with the reassurance of current and comprehensive buying information in a secure, user-friendly environment," said David Ezequelle, president of IDG's WebShopper. "With WebShopper, buyers can shop from their desktops, anywhere in the world, by accessing a huge inventory of brand name products at competitive prices, twenty-four hours a day."

WebShopper's ability to provide users with a broad selection of brand name products is through alliances with direct marketers such as MicroWarehouse, based in Norwalk, Connecticut, one of the largest national resellers of computer products. The MicroWarehouse alliance allows WebShopper users to make purchases from an inventory of more than 30,000 products after consulting an extensive database to confirm product availability and pricing.

"The advantage for buyers is that they can select from tens of thousands of brand name products from a vendor they know and trust after consulting current product information and objective reviews from the IDG publications they know and trust," said Andrew Eisner, WebShopper's director of content.

"IDG has a long history of providing superior editorial information about today's greatest products. Backed by MicroWarehouse's huge selection of computer products and software, the WebShopper site will be a powerful shopping environment for savvy online customers who already know us from our mail order catalogs. With 30% of online purchases going to computer related products, we feel the WebShopper site is a large step forward in meeting the shopping needs of the online community," said Peter Godfrey, founder and CEO of MicroWarehouse.

Objective Product Information From Award-Winning Publications Serving Over 90 Million Technology Buyers Worldwide

As the world's number one provider of information about computer technology, IDG has long excelled at providing IT professionals with comprehensive information about the hardware and software products that they purchase for business and personal use. From in-depth articles and lab-based, comparative product reviews to "top 10" lists and editor's choice

designations, IDG's 285 publications help readers make informed product buying decisions in 75 countries around the world.

"Now readers have a place to turn for help with the actual purchase process," said Ezequelle. "WebShopper closes the loop by offering buyers the opportunity to instantly purchase the brand name products they've determined best meet their technology needs with the click of a mouse."

Under the direction of Ezequelle, the staff, which includes Web designers, content editors, product managers and marketing professionals, has been readying the WebShopper site for launch for nearly a year with the goal of building the quintessential buying service for technology-related products on the Internet.

"The WebShopper concept is totally unique," noted Ezequelle. "There's nothing that comes close, not the Internet commerce sites that use a mall model or require users to go through exhaustive searches for the product information they need, or the manufacturers' own sites which do not offer brand choice. In contrast, we wanted to create a user-friendly, self-

contained environment that places a premium on the customer experience."

WebShopper will target buyers who purchase computer hardware and software products in small to medium-sized businesses, which Ezequelle defines as companies with 10 to 250 employees. According to WebShopper's own research

across its WebShopper Customer Panel, this group of buyers regularly engages in electronic commerce for the purchase of IT-related products and plans to buy increasingly more IT products over the Internet, especially as electronic software distribution (ESD) becomes more viable. The study also found that the group most likely to buy computer products online are the ones who have been buying through the direct channel already. IT spending online currently accounts for 29% of total online spending for goods and services, and electronic commerce guru Gary Arlen predicts a rosy future for Internet

businesses that assist comparative shopping with unbiased, current information.

"WebShopper provides trusted, branded content that IDG customers have come to expect from the company's extensive online offering which includes more than 200 targeted Web sites in 52 countries worldwide," said Ezequelle.

WebShopper, based in San Francisco is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company. IDG publishes more than 285 computer magazines and newspapers and 500 book titles and offers online

users the largest network of technology specific sites around the world through IDG.net (http://www.idg.net), which comprises more than 200 targeted Web sites in 52 countries. IDG is also a leading producer of 110 computer-related expositions worldwide, and provides IT market analysis through 49 offices in 41 countries worldwide. Company information is available at http://www.idg.com.

* Web commerce to reach $220 billion during 2001 — "The Global Market Forecast For Internet Usage and Commerce" (Source: IDC, July 1997)