Ecommerce Sites Help with Hurricane Relief

The web pros at Savannah-based Color Maria are in the business of helping clients sell products online.

"We develop a piece of software, web software that powers online storefronts," explained the company's Blake Ellis.

Now they're working to help clients automatically pledge a percentage of online revenue to hurricane relief.

"If we can encourage all of our customers to offer this on their storefronts, and each of them offers it their thousands and thousands of purchasers, that through multiplication we can really generate a lot of donations," said Ellis.

Like everybody, they've been watching a lot of television over the past week. But the images and the stories that moved them to act are actually online, provided by a partner company in downtown New Orleans, Direct NIC.

"They've been pretty vocal on blogs and whatnot that they've been keeping, how things have been going and some of the ups and downs that they've seen," said Ellis. "It's been pretty powerful stuff to watch it firsthand from people that we work with."

Pooler hot sauce company Mo Hotta Mo Betta, a Color Maria client, has also been moved and plans to pledge a significant portion of online sales for a while.

"I just think it's important for everybody you know to kind of look away from the profit side of business right now and to really focus in on giving to people who really need it at this point," said the companies Jimmy Kelly. "It's just the American way to look at people and to help people in that area, who are in those kind of conditions."

And it's to be hoped these small local companies can use the web to make a difference in one of America's worst disasters.

Reported by: Charles Gray,