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Pizza site made to order

Tired of having to call up the local pizzeria while surfing the Net? Then bookmark the latest e-commerce business: CyberSlice.

Tired of having to call up the local pizzeria every time a craving hits while surfing the Net? Then you might want to bookmark the latest e-commerce business, CyberSlice.

The service that launched today lets pizza lovers order on the Net from more than 1,000 merchants, including numerous neighborhood pizzerias and larger franchises like Dominos. The pizza parlors pay 50 cents to $3 per order placed through CyberSlice, making it possible for small shops to get online without the costs of maintaining their own Web sites.

According to CyberSlice, 70 percent of its pizzerias are independently run. The service is another example of how "mom and pop" stores, not just corporate giants, can generate sales from the Net.

After providing a full address, CyberSlice gives creatures of convenience in the Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle metropolitan areas a list of nearby pizzerias that are open for delivery. In most cases, CyberSlice allows customers to order their favorite pie by filling out an online form. Some pizzeria listings, however, are still labeled "coming soon."

Customers' orders are tallied up and emailed to the CyberSlice office in Seattle, where they are processed and called into the specified pizzeria through a digital voice system that sounds like voice mail. Once the order is confirmed by the pizzeria, an email with the delivery time is sent to the customer from the service.

If a problem occurs, CyberSlice contacts the customer to redirect the order. Just like phone orders, customers pay upon receipt.

Graphic-intense backgrounds, such as a "Little Italy" theme, are best viewed through Navigator 3.0 or Internet Explorer 3.0.

According to CyberSlice spokeswoman Lindsay Walsh, the site plans to go nationwide by next summer.

CyberSlice also announced that it will use NeXT Software's WebObjects Enterprise software to build its inaugural Web site. WebObjects' application integrates geographical information systems from MapQuest with telephony software from Apex to let consumers order pizza through the site.