January 22, 2010, 12:00 AM

Buy.com offers a web template to affiliates

Buy.com plans to help its affiliates build more effective web sites that include video and automated updates of sales being offered at Buy.com. Affiliates, which include web publishers and bloggers, earn money by featuring product links to Buy.com.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

E-retailer Buy.com Inc. plans to help its affiliates build more effective web sites that include video and automated updates of sales being offered at Buy.com. Affiliates, which include web publishers, bloggers and product reviewers, earn money by featuring product links to Buy.com.

Buy.com, No. 33 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide (a PDF version of the company’s financial and operating profile can be ordered by clicking on its name), will offer its StoreBuilder service for free. Affiliates can choose a range of options under the service, which essentially functions as a web template.

An affiliate could select, for instance, headers, footers or banners from the template, or a product search box, says Jeff Wisot, Buy.com’s vice president of marketing. Affiliates also can insert text links from StoreBuilder instead of creating their own.

The service also enables affiliates, who earn commissions when consumer clicks on their sites lead to sales on Buy.com, to promote sales more efficiently, Wisot says. Buy.com offers daily sales, which can lead to thousands of units of a particular product sold within a couple of hours, he says. Under the current system, Buy.com sends sale details to affiliates. StoreBuilder, however, offers affiliates a coding that produces automatic updates of the daily sales.

“This saves affiliates a lot of time and leads to more revenue and orders,” he says. “And it will help us get our latest products out there.”

Buy.com already works with tens of thousands of affiliates, Wisot says, declining to give an exact figure. The online merchant has begun offering StoreBuilder to approximately 150 of its affiliates as part of a pilot. A wider rollout will take place before the end of the first quarter, he says.

Additionally, StoreBuilder will begin offering affiliates video capabilities within five months, Wisot says. Instead of a static image of a router, for instance, affiliates will be able to offer a video demonstration of the product. Such video already runs on the Buy.com site. Wisot says video product demonstrations produce three to seven times more sales than static images.

Buy.com started work on StoreBuilder about a year ago. Wisot gave no cost figure for the effort. He expects 50% of new affiliates to use the service, and predicts thousands of existing affiliates will sign up for the service each month after the rollout.

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