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BlueTie: taking on Exchange online

BlueTie, a hosted e-mail and calendaring company, is letting resellers customize its services.

BlueTie's hosted calendaring application

Headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., since 1999, online e-mail and calendaring company doesn't benefit from the Web 2.0 buzz. But its offerings have a familiar ring to people who have explored hosted alternatives to Microsoft's Exchange.

Like , BlueTie uses AJAX Web development to make an interactive Web front end. It targets small and medium-size businesses, selling through Internet Service Providers, resellers and its own direct sales force. Last month, it introduced a free version of its e-mail and calendaring service to complement a high-end $4.99 per user per month service, which has more storage and additional features.

To monetize the

There are similar service tie-ins to buy flowers, and talks with office supply partners and other services are in the works, says CEO David Koretz. BlueTie gets a cut of the revenue from transactions.

"We don't want to have obvious advertising," he said. "It's a major bet on our side that we can be relevant to users and they're going to want to use our services."

On Monday, the company will start a program to give outsiders the ability to write mashups with its applications. The first step in that process is letting resellers have a single console for managing user accounts, said Koretz. Over time, the company will give developers the ability to access and import data in BlueTie applications, he said.