March 31, 2014, 11:07 AM

Overstock.com launches a free pet adoption service

The web-only mass merchant has begun listing profiles of rescue dogs, cats, reptiles, horses, birds and other pets available from shelters nationwide on the OVillage section of its web site.

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Overstock.com Inc. is helping consumers add some extra fur, feathers or scales to their homes, for free.

The web-only mass merchant has launched a pet adoption service on its web site for consumers to search listings of rescue dogs, cats, reptiles, horses, birds and “other” pets available at shelters nearby. Once a consumer choses a nonhuman companion, Overstock.com puts her in contact with the shelter to complete the adoption. The retailer does not collect a fee.

“We realized that the same world-class technology we have built to enable shoppers to sort through millions of products on our site to find just the right item is technology that could also be used to enable pet lovers to sort through hundreds of thousands of animals in adoption shelters to find just the right pet for their family,” says Overstock.com chairman and CEO Patrick M. Byrne. “We are an animal-friendly firm and are grateful for the opportunity to use our technology and resources to make a difference in the lives of so many animals and people.”

The pet adoption listings can be found on the OVillage tab on Overstock.com, where the retailer links to what it calls its “sustainable” business divisions. Those include Worldstock.com, which sells “fair-trade” products from artisans worldwide; Main Street Revolution, which sells American-made items from small businesses; and Farmers Market, which Overstock is currently expanding, it says. The pet adoption section of the site is the only one that does not sell anything.

Beyond goodwill, Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at research and advisory firm RSR Research LLC, says she doesn’t see the pet adoption service “having any long-term ramifications one way or another for the company.”

Overstock.com is No. 31 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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