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CameraWorld's logo. Courtesy of CameraWorld.com. Ritz acquires CameraWorld.com!
(Monday, May 6, 2002 - 18:13 EDT)

IR partner continues its growth, picking up the Internet property of another well-known retailer to add to its portfolio...

A press release today announces that Ritz Interactive Inc. has acquired CameraWorld.com, the Internet website of Portland-based retailer CameraWorld. Well-rated by its customers on sites like ResellerRatings.com, the CameraWorld.com name joins previous acquisitions including WolfCamera.com and PhotoAlley.com. The CameraWorld store in Portland is not included in the sale, and will continue to operate in its own right as a separate entity.

A note from Mike: CameraWorld was the source of my first ever digital camera, Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-D770, in August 1999 when the company was the first one online to get the camera in-stock - and the experience couldn't have been more pleasant! Congratulations to Ritz on their announcement, and the best of luck to everybody at CameraWorld who built the reputation behind the CameraWorld.com name...

A note from Dave: Congratulations to our partner Ritz again for being in a position to pick up the pieces of a once-proud photo retail organization. (Last month, they took over the web assets of PhotoAlley.com, who was also an advertiser of ours, and one of the best internet-based photo retail companies out there.)

While I didn't know the people at CameraWorld personally, as I did those at Photoalley, I observed this news with similar sadness. For many years, CameraWorld was one of the very few "back of the magazine" advertisers in the print world who could be relied upon and trusted implicitly. In a market notorious for and increasingly dominated by bait & switch and other scam artists, CameraWorld stood for ethical business practices and fair deals, and I was myself a satisfied customer of theirs on several occasions.

The founder of CameraWorld apparently sold his interest in the firm to a group of investors a while ago, and that group seems to have hitched its future to the internet. We all know what happened to internet retailing over the last couple of years, and it looks like CameraWorld was a victim of the online downturn as well. The turnaround that currently seems to be happening is coming too late for CameraWorld and Photoalley before it.

So, another sad salute to a once-great photo retailer, and best wishes to Ritz in carrying on the proud tradition...

Original Source Press Release:


Purchase of popular photo specialty e-tailer is the latest in string of acquisitions by the Ritz Interactive e-commerce network.

IRVINE, Calif., May 6, 2002 - Leading e-commerce network Ritz Interactive, Inc., a prominent force within the photo specialty online shopping market, has announced its acquisition of CameraWorld.com's website, (www.CameraWorld.com), a major competitor. CameraWorld's large Portland retail store will continue normal operations and is not part of the acquisition. The announcement was made today by Ritz Interactive President and CEO Fred H. Lerner.

This latest acquisition comes on the heels of Ritz Interactive's April purchase of yet another top photography e-tailer, PhotoAlley.com. The addition of CameraWorld.com to the Ritz Interactive portfolio, which also includes flagship sites RitzCamera.com and WolfCamera.com, reinforces the company's leadership position within the photography e-commerce space. Ritz Interactive acquired WolfCamera.com in October 2001. The Irvine, California-based e-commerce network has also established itself as a marine specialty leader, with its boating and fishing online superstore BoatersWorld.com.

Launched in 1996, Cameraworld.com was one of early "pioneers" in online retailing. According to Lerner, the site, which has gained a large following over the years, will fit perfectly within the Ritz Interactive family of photography-related Web properties. Lerner, who co-founded Ritz Interactive in 1999 and has spearheaded the company's various acquisitions, points out that CameraWorld.com customers will also reap benefits. "We look forward to expanding upon the qualities that have earned CameraWorld.com its loyal consumer base," he said. "Our plan is to retain the elements that have made this site so popular, along with the CameraWorld.com brand and URL, and provide consumers with even greater selection, functionality and service.

Like all Ritz Interactive photo specialty e-commerce sites, the new CameraWorld.com will offer consumers a wide array of quality cameras and photographic accessories, plus the added buying incentives of a "Low Prices Guarantee," no sales tax and free shipping (for orders over $100).

Ritz Interactive's award-winning shopping sites are complemented by several "content-oriented" portals serving the photographic and marine communities, including Photography.com, BoatingOnly.com and FishingOnly.com. The network also features the newly-launched e-tail site RitzElectronics.com, as well as RitzPIX.com - a digital imaging site offering photo sharing and storage for Web users.

About Ritz Interactive, Inc.
Ritz Interactive, Inc. of Irvine, Calif., (www.RitzInteractive.com), is an e-commerce network of interactive Web sites dedicated to providing a wide selection of leisure-time products at the most competitive prices for the online shopper. In addition to its leading photo-specialty e-tail destinations RitzCamera.com, WolfCamera.com, PhotoAlley.com and CameraWorld.com, Ritz Interactive owns and operates marine e-commerce leader BoatersWorld.com (www.BoatersWorld.com). The Ritz Interactive network also includes digital imaging and photo-sharing site RitzPIX.com (www.RitzPIX.com) and several popular community portals serving the photography and marine niche markets. Ritz Interactive's newly-launched electronics superstore RitzElectronics.com (www.RitzElectronics.com) puts a wide variety of quality electronic products and accessories at the fingertips of cyber-shoppers. All Ritz Interactive e-commerce sites offer incredible selection, plus the added benefits of a "Low Prices Guarantee," and no sales tax. Shipping is also free for purchases over $100 at Ritzcamera.com, PhotoAlley.com and CameraWorld.com, and for orders over $200 at BoatersWorld.com. Ritz Interactive shares a strategic business alliance with Ritz Camera Centers, Inc., which owns and operates more than 1,200 Ritz Camera Centers and 108 Boater's World Marine Centers nationwide.

About CameraWorld.com
Launched in 1996, CameraWorld.com was one of the "first to market" in photography e-tailing. Since its debut, CameraWorld.com has grown to rank among the Web 's most popular online shopping sites for photographic equipment, video products and related accessories. In addition to offering a wide range of high quality imaging equipment, CameraWorld.com provides insightful articles, tips and pointers designed to enhance the photography experience for shutterbugs at all levels of proficiency. CameraWorld.com was acquired by Irvine, California-based Ritz Interactive, Inc. on May 1, 2002.


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