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October 5, 1999

iMediation Previews v2 Web Affiliate Software

By CBR Staff Writer

E-commerce affiliate network software vendor iMediation SA yesterday showed off improvements to its iChannel offering, outlining the technology’s restructuring around the XML (extensible markup language) standard. The preview comes the day before one of the Paris, France-based company’s first customer, entertainment retailer HMV, goes live with an affiliate network based on iChannel.

iChannel is made up of two basic components, the Relationship Engine and the Transaction Engine, based around a Java-based kernel known as i2000. The relationship module is presented as a web-based interface through which web merchants and their affiliates can request/accept/reject offers of affiliation, and track sales, commission and the like. The interface has been much simplified in v2.0, and allows contracts to be automatically assembled with the point and click definition of business rules being translated into legalese.

The transaction module handles the back-end processes, building the customer-facing virtual page templates using an XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language) processor to convert the XML documents into browser-displayable HTML documents. The module also tracks buyers’ paths through e-commerce transactions for use with the relationship component. It communicates to i2000, which in turn interacts with transaction statistic and affiliate information and product catalogue databases.

iMediation says it is targeting three levels of customer with the product. As well as merchants, which use the system rather like Inc manages its bespoke affiliate network, the software enables internet service providers to offer a hosted service to their clients, and portal sites to compile malls of merchants in specific verticals. HMV fits into the first category, while telco Cegetel SA is offering the hosting service and publishing house Hachette Filipacchi Interaction SA (publisher of Elle magazine) will create a fashion hub, offering products from multiple merchants.

Prices for the system start at around $100,000, a one-off license fee based around the quantity of traffic passing through the iChannel software. The firm has signed between 15 and 20 customers since its April launch, and has three US offices, as well as its Paris HQ and a soon-to-open Asia Pacific branch. The firm now employs around 100 people, roughly double the amount at the beginning of the year.

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