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Dell picks Digital River for downloads

Dell's e-commerce site Gigabuys.com, now co-branded with Digital River, offers software from a variety of sources.

Digital River has secured an agreement with Dell to host a digital software download store from Dell's e-commerce site, Gigabuys.com.

The download selection was launched yesterday on the Gigabuys.com site. Dell launched Gigabuys.com in March, offering thousands of computer products such as peripherals and boxed software from a variety of makers. Dell PCs, laptops, workstations, and servers are still available from the Dell store.

The "Software On Demand" link takes Gigabuys.com shoppers to co-branded site, where they can purchase more than 30,000 software titles from Digital River, not Dell.

Perry Steiner, president of Digital River, declined to discuss the details of the hosting agreement with Dell. But usually the retailers that Digital River contracts with receive a percentage of every sale they refer to the download store.

Digital River does not have its own e-commerce site. "They are really the retailer; we are just outsourcing this portion of their site," said Steiner.

Digital River runs co-branded stores with more than 1,000 online retailers, including Kmart and CompUSA. The Dell partnership is a key one for Digital River, whose rival Beyond.com began selling software on Compaq's Web site in a similar deal last month. Beyond.com also operates its own retail site.

"Our business model is completely different from Beyond.com," said Steiner. "Our goal is not to build a destination site."

As for Gigabuys.com, it may expand its selection beyond computer products, according to the site's marketing manager, Barbara Flowers.

"It's a very consumer-based store," Flowers said. Future offerings will "depend on what customers ask for."