Gift givers have new online tools

NEW YORK -- An Austin, Texas-based startup will launch a new service at Internet World Fall '99 here Wednesday that jumps on the gift-giving bandwagon.IveBeenGood.

NEW YORK -- An Austin, Texas-based startup will launch a new service at Internet World Fall '99 here Wednesday that jumps on the gift-giving bandwagon.

IveBeenGood.com lets users set up "wish lists" for themselves and others by grabbing purchasing data from within the HTML code of Web pages.

The wish lists can be shared with friends and family to let others know a consumers' wants, or to help coordinate purchasing among large groups of people.

The company is backed by Trilogy software, an e-commerce firm that has launched other Net companies including PC Order and CollegeHire.com. IveBeenGood is one of a number of companies that have recently debuted tweaks on the gift registry theme.

Join the parade
Della&James went live this summer with a site that allowed bridal couples to register online at major vendors including Crate and Barrel and Williams-Sonoma. The site will expand to all-occasion gift giving next month.

Last week WishClick.com launched an online registry that includes partners BigStar Entertainment, Pacific Sunwear and ProFlowers.com

Other firms including NetGiftRegistry.com and GiftedSolutions.com have developed software that allows retailers to set up their own online registries.

"I think it's going to be big, and it can be a win for both retailers and consumers," said Rebecca Nidositko at Yankee Group in Boston. "If it makes your shopping experience better or easier, great. And if it makes you buy more, then that's great for the retailers." While some may think registries are only for brides and expectant mothers, these companies think that harried shoppers will appreciate the help this holiday season.

Needed for Christmas
"I would argue people need this kind of tool for Christmas shopping," said IveBeenGood President Ravi Gururaj. His company is focusing on the holiday market, particularly buying for children.

Consumers download an applet that attaches to their browser and lets them "register" an item with any Web retailer by clicking on the product page. Users can select items for themselves to be put on a wish list that can be sent by e-mail or regular mail to others. They can also set up an "idea list" to help them shop for family and friends.

Because family members can see each other's lists, the site can allow brothers and sisters to team up to buy a present for a parent or prevent relatives from buying the same gift for the same person.

Users are sent to the merchant's checkout site when they want to buy the product, although IveBeenGood will offer a fee-based Santa's helper service that will use consumer credit card and address book data to make the purchases on their behalf.

Later this week at Internet World, GiftLogic.com will discuss a somewhat similar service, OhIWish.com. That service, which went live Monday, also allows consumers to browser products, set up lists and distribute the lists to others.

But instead of pulling data from product pages, the site uses product information from Inktomi Corp.'s (Nasdaq:INKT) shopping engine. Other features on the site include anniversary reminders and product comparison guides.

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