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Open Market updates Web tools

Three months after buying ICentral, the e-commerce vendor releases new software for online storefronts.

Three months after buying ICentral, e-commerce software vendor Open Market has released a new version of ICentral's tools for building Web storefronts.

Versions 3.4 of ShopSite Pro and ShopSite Manager add faster searching, improve indexing and sorting, make page updating and button customization easier, and let merchants who don't need shipping and sales tax options omit them.

Also added: Diners Club/Carte Blanche and CyberCash as payment options plus improved security and image uploads.

The ShopSite tools are targeted to small or mid-sized businesses that want to set up catalog-based Internet stores. They compete with similar offerings from Microsoft, iCat, Intershop, Vision Factory, newcomer BreakThrough Software, and Mercantec.

Open Market announced its purchase of ICentral on May 1 for $11 million in stock and cash.

Last week Open Market announced a $20 million private placement of its stock with CMG Information Services, an investor in Internet companies.

The company also announced new customers including PC manufacturer Acer America, Consumer Reports publisher Consumers Union, streaming media firm RealNetworks, and Baby Bell SBC Communications.

ShopSite Manager, designed for smaller companies, retails for $495. The more powerful Pro version is targeted at experienced Web designers, hosting services, or merchants and costs $1,295.