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Mark Pierce, chief financial officer for MarketLive since May, has replaced Terry Austin as chief executive officer. Mr. Pierce brings to his new role a 15 year background in ecommerce. He held earlier positions at Pinnacle Rock Associates (acquired by Fry, Inc.), Proctor & Gamble, Accenture and USWeb/CKS.

The action is sure to be welcome among clients. It is a good step toward more sure footing in the market. With the change, MarketLive is softening its decision to end support of versions 3 and 4.

Last Spring, half the client base was notified they must upgrade (mainly for PCI compliance) or look for another service provider. MarketLive will now work with each of its clients to establish an upgrade timeline that is mutually agreeable.

“This could have been communicated better,” says Ken Burke, the company’s founder and executive chairman. Clients will be glad to hear that Ken, an ardent client advocate, will be more involved in day-to-day operations.

An email from one MarketLive customer gave the news a positive reception. “It sounds like they are going to be working hard to earn back the trust of their clients… Not sure if we’ll stay [a client] but I certainly will give them my ear (which I wouldn’t have done under previous management).”

In a call with the new CEO, Mark Pierce said many have already upgraded or have committed to upgrade. He wouldn’t disclose the total client count, which was last reported at 150. He did acknowledge the company lost a few customers along the way. But they also landed new deals this Summer, including Successories, eVanity, TruSnow┬«, and Wakeside.com.

Over the past few months, MarketLive has realigned operations and reduced its workforce a few times to become more nimble and efficient. The company indicated that R&D was unaffected. The latest release, version 5.5, became generally available in August. When asked when Version 6 was planned, Mark couldn’t say; but the roadmap will focus heavily on extending the partner ecosystem.

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