GSI Commerce Inc. made an equity investment in WebCollage Inc., a privately held provider of Web content integration solutions for manufacturers and retailers headquartered in New York. The investment was part of a new round of financing for WebCollage and GSI Commerce was joined by existing WebCollage investors Cedar Fund and Sierra Ventures. GSI Commerce and WebCollage also entered into an alliance to provide content syndication solutions to the e-commerce partners of GSI Commerce.

“We see the role of content syndication expanding and becoming more important as consumers increasingly are relying on the Web as their prime source of product information,” said Michael G. Rubin, chairman and CEO of GSI Commerce. “Our investment and new alliance with WebCollage demonstrates our continuing commitment to strategically invest, enhance and grow the features, functions and services that we offer as part of our overall e-commerce solution. In turn, this helps our partners grow their direct-to-consumer businesses faster and more profitably than they could on their own.”

“We welcome GSI Commerce's investment in our company and look forward to providing their e-commerce partners with content syndication solutions that better educate and inform their customers as they research and shop online,” said Eli Singer, CEO and co-founder of WebCollage. “This alliance will bring the power of enhanced product marketing to the GSI Commerce platform and the opportunity to turn more of their partners' online customers from browsers into buyers.”

In 2005, and Forrester Research noted that retailers were beginning to invest in online content because it was seen as an effective tool to influence and drive sales – regardless of consumer choice of purchasing channel. Research conducted by the Online Publishers Association found that more than 90 percent of people ages 18 through 54 use the Web to research product information.

“When you analyze the trends, we believe content syndication is one of the most important forces shaping the evolution of e-commerce,” said Steven Davis, senior vice president of partner services for GSI Commerce. “Our investment and alliance with WebCollage will provide our e-commerce partners with a solution that offers more control, a broader scope and larger scale for providing and receiving online, branded product content. WebCollage is a leader in content syndication and provides a seamless and affordable approach to delivering a required solution,” said Davis.