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Accompany changes its name

The company, which hosts a network of sites that promise lower prices on products if more people buy, changes its name to better reflect its business.

Accompany, which hosts a network of Web sites that promise lower prices on products if more people buy, is changing its name to to better reflect its business.

Visitors to the Accompany Web site, which is backed by Netscape Communications co-founder Marc Andreessen, today will be redirected to

"The name Accompany needs about a two-minute explanation," said Jim Rose, its chief executive. "But we found as we go forward that we don't have a couple of minutes."

Rose added that the name is easier to translate in foreign languages as the company expands internationally in the future.

Launched early last year, the San Francisco-based company faces heightened competition in online group buying, an industry that didn't exist little more than year ago.

A host of sites have emerged to challenge Accompany and its chief rival Mercata, which recently filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a public offering. And online stalwarts Yahoo and America Online have talked separately about offering similar services in the coming months.

Until now, Accompany hasn't widely advertised its brand and services. In conjunction with the name change, it plans to launch a $10 million to $20 million advertising campaign targeted at radio, print and the Web.

Founded in 1998, the company offers its services through about 20 online companies, including iVillage and Shoppers are pooled together across its entire network, thus gaining better value on their purchases.

Last week, Accompany said that it is one step from receiving a patent on its online group buying methods, which would put the company ahead of other sites vying for patents on the technology. Last month, it received $35 million in a third round of financing from a group of strategic investors, including Visa International, Andreessen and WR Hambrecht.