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Internet

Video biz grows on Net

While online bookstores hog the Net spotlight this week, online video stores quietly make inroads on the Web.

While online bookstores are hogging the Net spotlight this week, online video stores are quietly making inroads on the Web.

In the constant pursuit to get rich off the Net, dealing in items that are uniform and relatively cheap may prove to be the key to success.

Reel, for instance, began both selling and renting videos last week; just three weeks ago, and it has just shipped a thousand orders.

Like Amazon.com, the world's most famous online book store these days, Reel also aims to be the one-stop shop for video shopping, offering editorial content and movie matching.

"Our goal is to put people together with movies that they're going to feel good about having spent two hours watching," said Rosie Ruley Atkins, spokeswoman for Reel.

While several niche sites have been selling videos over the Net for months, Reel is one of the first to actually rent videos. It sends them returnable boxes and for $2.80 plus shipping anyone in the United States can check out sometimes hard-to-get videos for a week.

For many, the online store give people access to movies they would not otherwise be able to get. But surprisingly enough, people who live in major metropolitan areas where obscure videos are much more readily available are ordering movies right alongside of those from more rural areas, Atkins said.

Currently, the store stocks 35,000 titles and features several services, including movie matching, where you can find out what movies you'd like according to the movies you've enjoyed in the past.

Orders to purchase videos come from all over the world, including China, Atkins added.

Reel is far from alone. A site called Video Wasteland, for instance, specializes in horror movies, while PlanetOut specializes in gay-oriented videos.

"We're getting orders from all over the world," said Tom Rielly, CEO of PlanetOut.