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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Tech Industry

Dell paying for clicks

"It's easy, fast and free!" may sound like another dodgy e-mail pitch, but the message is a legitimate offer from PC giant Dell Computer.

By Michelle Tan

SINGAPORE--"Boost your earning power and site traffic. Earn valuable referral fees...It's easy, fast and free!"

It sounds like another dodgy e-mail pitch, but the message is actually a legitimate offer from PC giant Dell Computer.

The Austin, Texas-based company this week launched its Asia-Pacific Affiliates Program, which gives approved Web site owners the chance to earn a 1 percent commission by helping sell Dell products.

Under the program, affiliates post Dell-approved banners, logos and text links on their Web sites. Any click-throughs that lead to an online purchase at participating Dell online stores--in this case, Dell's home and small-business sites in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand--will earn them a commission.

However, traffic must originate from sites in these countries. "An order placed on a particular Dell country Web site means that the order can only be delivered in that country," explained Kim Edwards, Dell's Asia-Pacific director of online marketing.

According to a statement, affiliates will have "almost total flexibility" as to how they connect their customers to Dell's online stores; links can be generated through banners, logos, text links or a combination of all three, and there is no limit to the number of links that can be put in place to drive traffic to the sites. Affiliates will get a "welcome kit" that outlines the rules or guidelines of the program, together with approved banners and logos.

Edwards said an affiliate program has been "very successfully" launched in the United States but declined to elaborate. The Australia-based director also declined to say how successful the program is expected to be in Asia.

"The four markets were chosen as we have had more success there in terms of our online penetration. The program will be rolled out to other Asia-Pacific countries in the near future," she added.

U.S.-based affiliate marketing company LinkShare will run the online affiliate programs, providing technical and operational support, as well as full reporting on the traffic and sales that result from participation.

Commissions will be paid monthly in local currency terms based on LinkShare's reports.

Staff writer Michelle Tan reported from Singapore.