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Pets.com has new CEO Julie Wainwright to thank for today’s announcement that Amazon.com and venture capital firm Hummer Winblad have together taken a 50% stake in the online pet supply retailer, which launched in November 1998.

McLemore declined [to sell WebMagic’s Pets.com business]. Within days, the Pets.com founder scored a $10 million investment deal led by the VC firm Hummer Winblad…

Pets.com today announced that it has completed an initial public offering of 7,500,000 shares of common stock at an offering price of $11 per share. The shares commenced trading today on Nasdaq under the symbol IPET.

Pets.com today announced that it has put up for auction an authentic Pets.com Sock Puppet on Amazon.com Auctions. Direct from Pets.com’s recent Super Bowl commercial shoot, the genuine Sock Puppet, one of only a few originals, is available for bidding beginning today through February 3. All proceeds from the sale of the Sock Puppet will go to Pets.commitment, Pets.com’s philanthropic program.

The Internet is everywhere, even on TV . . . www.pets.com uses its ‘puppet spokes-dog thing’ to chat with pooches in parking lots and sing the site’s praises wherever pets play.

Pets.com seeks to sell everything your pet pines for. . . . But unlike its competitors, Pets.com has a formidable foe on its leash: Amazon.com. . . . Back in 1994, of course, the online pet market looked comparatively tranquil. That’s when Greg McLemore . . . registered the Pets.com address and launched the site.

‘We are running hard and fast to make Pets.com the best possible customer experience, from product selection to customer service,” said Julie Wainwright, chief executive officer of Pets.com. “This significant investment [from Amazon.com and Hummer Winblad] allows us to support our plans to build an enduring, customer-focused company.”

Customer service, a factor that helped distinguish one of its investors, Amazon.com, is also key, with Pets.com planning to fulfill all orders from its warehouses starting in June.

In Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs are buzzing about pets. ‘It’s one of the last great consumer spaces for the Internet left to address,’ declares Julie Wainwright, who runs the newly launched Pets.com.

Newcomer Pets.com . . . has positioned itself as a strong contender with some 10,000 pet items for sale, content that includes an online lawyer and an anchor position on America Online, according to McLemore.