Group 1 Teams with USinternetworking

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Group 1 Software, Lanham, MD, a data quality and database marketing software vendor, said yesterday that it is partnering with USinternetworking Inc., Annapolis, MD, an Application Service Provider (ASP), to develop and manage a new Web portal called DataQuality.net.


DataQuality.net is a transactional portal that will provide e-tailers and other e-commerce companies with real-time customer data quality and data enrichment solutions for e-commerce and enterprise-wide applications.


Tim King, director of product management for e-commerce, Group 1, said companies that use DataQuality.net will be able to "validate and standardize in real time those names and addresses they collect from consumers who register for services or products on their Web sites."


If a consumer lives in a high-rise apartment, for example, and fails to provide an apartment number when signing up for a product on a company's Web site, Group 1's solution will automatically provide the Web owner with return code data. With this information in hand, the owner can set up his system to either automatically ask the consumer --while he is on the Web page -- what apartment he lives in or make the appropriate change automatically. A company's call center operators can also use the system to assist them when taking orders over the phone.


The back-end of the system uses Group 1's existing address matching products -- Code-1 Plus, Canadian Code-1 Plus, and Code-1 Plus International. DataQuality.net can validate, correct and/or format customer and prospect addresses for the United States, Canada and more than 200 countries worldwide. Group 1 will also offers Code-1 Plus in a Web-enabled version that allows companies to deploy the same infrastructure in their own networks. Web-enabled versions of Canadian Code-1 Plus and Code-1 Plus International will be introduced by Group 1 shortly.


King said that the solution will "append demographic data based on a customer's or prospect's geographic location, allowing them the ability to personalize each Web experience for greater sales effectiveness and to help establish lasting customer relationships. value."


The solution will also offer taxation jurisdiction information so that they can calculate the correct taxes on their Web sites.


Since DataQuality.net will not rely on highly personal customer information, e-tailers can provide real-time target marketing without raising personal privacy concerns.


E-commerce analysts are looking at this partnership and positively.


"Despite the fact that e-commerce sales rose 120 percent in 1999, e-tailers continue to experience significant customer turnover, particularly since sites are not personalizing the shopping experience to proactively engage customers," said Gene Alvarez, retail research analyst, Meta Group, Inc., Stamford, CT, an information technology research firm. "By appending demographic information in real-time, DataQuality.net will enable e-tailers to create a targeted buying experience, thereby increasing customer retention and the 'stickiness' of their sites."


Beta testing of DataQuality.net will begin early this summer with general availability slated for later this year. No prices have been set, but King said that the cost may be a penny per transaction
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