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Pets.com barks up British tree

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Pets.com, the Amazon-backed US online retailer, is moving into Britain through an equity stake in Petspark.com, online pet store and "community site", and perhaps the most twee site this side of Barbie. Terms of the deal were not revealed. Petspark was "conceived by a group of friends at a teatime meeting in London in August 1998. The goal was clear -– to create a place where pet and animal lovers could meet and share their experiences as well as shop for all their pet care needs". Kicking off with a nauseating and highly illegal injunction: "Love your pet on the Net," Petspark cartoon characters Stanley and Minxie guide you through the various services. There's a Vet! And a Behaviouralist (for the animals, not their owners)! There's even a bafflingly useless Pet Alphabet. You can send picture postcards from the site to fellow animal lovers, and you can commune with likeminded Petshop boys and girls on the community section. So what do you collectively call the members -- a herd, a flock, a shoal? Last and certainly not least is the pet superstore, which has plenty to offer, except for pet owners whose livestock extends beyond cats and dogs. ® More Net finance stuff at Cash Register

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