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RightNow Technologies reduces IPO price

Software-as-service firm discounts offering as initial public offerings falter.

RightNow Technologies began selling its shares to the public on Thursday for a lower offer price than previously planned.

The software-as-a-service company began trading at $7 a share on the Nasdaq stock market, knocking a few dollars off the $9 to $11 price range set last month. The company is offering 6.3 million shares at the lowered price, netting the company $44.1 million, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The company, based in Bozeman, Mont., originally sought to raise $54.4 million from the initial public offering, according to a July SEC filing. Its shares trade under the symbol RNOW.

RightNow's discounted price comes as the technology IPO market falters. Nanosys, a nanotechnology company, and Empi, a medical device company, each dropped plans to go public this week, citing unfavorable market conditions. PlanetOut, an online media company catering to gays and lesbians, recently cut the target price range of its anticipated IPO.

The company's Nasdaq debut also coincides with a recent spate of earnings warnings from software companies in RightNow's sector. PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems and more than a dozen other business software makers reported disappointing quarterly earnings last month.

Even Salesforce.com, whose June IPO had the biggest first-day gain among technology IPOs this year, has seen investor enthusiasm dwindle. The company's shares lost nearly a third of their value after Salesforce presented its earnings forecast to Wall Street analysts last month and have yet to recover.

RightNow and Salesforce have similar business models. Both specialize in business software, charging companies a monthly fee for access to their programs via the Web. RightNow makes applications designed reduce contact center costs by helping companies serve their customers online. Salesforce's programs are geared toward arming sales and marketing staffs with customer data.

RightNow lost $4.1 million last year on revenue of $35.9 million but is in the black so far this year, according to its latest SEC filing. The company earned $714,000 on revenue of $27.6 million during the first six months of this year, the filing says.