August 11, 2009, 12:00 AM

9-month-old Chocolate.com looks for expansion opportunities

Chocolate.com, an e-commerce site that sells artisan chocolate from nearly 200 producers, is looking to recruit chocolate producers in all 50 states. It’s also seeking a partner that can help the company accelerate growth.

Launched last November, Chocolate.com, an e-commerce site that sells artisan chocolate from nearly 200 producers, is looking to expand. Its goal is to have chocolate producers in all 50 states, Andrew Miller, president of Chocolate.com LLC, tells InternetRetailer.com. Chocolate.com is an operation of Internet Real Estate Group LLC, of which Miller is also president.

Chocolate.com resells candy the chocolate producers manufacture and handles all order and payment processing as well as customer service. Chocolate.com’s platform allows the chocolate creators to input all their products and content and control their margins and pricing. The chocolate producers fulfill orders on a drop-ship basis.

Miller says Chocolate.com has not actively recruited producers until recently. “The first 180-plus found us,” he says.

In addition to adding to Chocolate.com’s base of producers, Miller says Chocolate.com is looking to partner with a large seller of chcocolate whose customers would be interested in purchasing chocolate gifts. Miller says Chocolate.com is open to a full or partial acquisition or “anything that propels growth of customers that is a win-win.”

The company’s focus until now has been to build the brand, especially through search engine optimization, Miller says. Chocolate.com shows up on the first page of Google results for many chocolate-related terms, including “chocolate,” “chocolate gifts,” “chocolate gift boxes” and “chocolate gift baskets.”

The Internet Real Estate Group acquires and develops category-generic domain names and online brands. In addition to Chocolate.com, its properties include Patents.com, Phone.com, Software.com, Sportsfan.com, Safety.com and Sweepstakes.com.

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