February 28, 2012, 11:43 AM

Overstock.com rolls out O.info

The mass merchant, also known as O.co, offers a new fast track to consumer reviews.

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Overstock.com Inc. has added to its stable of brands and web domains O.info, a site that highlights consumer-generated product reviews. The site also provides information on product details and shipping policies, along with links to make a purchase on Overstock.com.

“We've made O.info the place to find helpful information about our products,” chairman and CEO Patrick Byrne says. “The site features unique customer reviews with insights into the appearance, function and fit of a product.”

Overstock, which is also known as O.co, says on O.info that the site also provides “blogs, reviews, buying guides and more,” though blogs and buying guides will becme available at a later date, Overstock president Jonathan Johnson says, adding that he’d like to see site visitors post and share blog comments on Overstock’s products. The main heading at the top of the O.info home page is “Latest Reviews,” underneath which is a list of consumer reviews of assorted products that appears to get updated every few seconds. (A site visitor must refresh the page to see updated content.)

The consumer reviews posted on O.info at 10 a.m. Central time this morning were dated Feb. 25. Clicking a “Buy This Product” link on O.info takes a visitor to the reviewed product’s buy page on Overstock.com, where she can see the same review posted along with all prior reviews of the same product. Overstock, which did not say what technology or service it uses to manage consumer reviews, is No. 27 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide and was named to the 2012 Internet Retailer Hot 100 list.

Overstock acquired the O.info domain last September from Afilias Limited, the .infodomain registry. The companies did not say what Overstock paid for the domain. The retailer has reported that it paid $350,000 in 2010 for the O.co domain name, though it has slowed down its planned transition to the O.co brand because "our customers still see a lot of value in the Overstock.com brand," Johnson says.

Roland LaPlante, chief marketing officer of Afilias, says the .info domain has been available for more than 10 years and is the “most popular new generic top-level domain assigned by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.” That group, commonly called ICANN, manages the web address system.

Overstock features O.info as one of six links from the home page of its flagship site, Overstock.com. Those six links, as shown left to right under the Overstock.com logo, are Shopping, Cars, Travel, Insurance, B2B and O.info. The first four are part of the Overstock.com domain. Only B2B, with O.biz, and O.info use their own domains.

O.info currently features only products and reviews from the main Overstock.com shopping site. But Overstock will consider featuring reviews from other its other areas of Cars, Travel, Insurance and B2B, Johnson says.

Sam Peterson, Overstock’s senior vice president, technology, website and merchandising, will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in Chicago in a session entitled “The key to tablet owners' hearts: apps.

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