WHO: Buy.com, Aliso Viejo, Calif.
WHAT: Self-proclaimed "fastest-growing Internet company in U.S. history and first e-commerce portal." Indeed, site has expanded from PC-only roots to seven sub-stores selling music, software, games, videos, books, surplus consumer electronics and computers. A redesign in May brought richer content, better functionality, easier navigation, and a lowest-price guarantee against other authorized online resellers. "Our key priority is to provide the best customer experience possible while maintaining extremely competitive pricing," said CEO Greg Hawkins.
WHEN: Launched October 1996 as Buycomp.com; re-launched as Internet superstore Buy.com in November 1998.
WHY: Company mission statement reads, "To be the leading Internet retailer with guaranteed low prices and superior customer service." Whether CEO/founder Scott Blum has achieved that is arguable, although the superstore is certainly in the running. Having established a rep for rock-bottom prices on PCs and peripherals thanks to a partnership with Ingram Micro, Blum is now gunning for the CE market by offering closeout TVs, VCRs and stereos via the site's new Buysurplus.com Home Electronics store.