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Tech support by email

Stream's Web site offers free technical support for browsers, although they charge users for email and callback responses to their problems.

Stream International, which handles manufacturing, technical support, and fulfillment for major software companies, is launching what it claims is the first site to offer technical support on the Web for multiple vendors.

Stream, which had $1.6 billion in revenues last year, also has a software catalog on the site with more than 1,200 products. The site, operating since mid-June but to be officially launched Monday, is targeted at consumers and the small-office/home-office market.

"We are adding offers for the corporate market, but today we felt people up there buying products are consumers and small businesses," said Kim Agricola, Stream electronic commerce marketing manager. Buyers can use either Visa or MasterCard for purchases.

Tech support options come in three tiers. Visitors can tap Stream's database of technical support information as well as similar material from several software vendors for free. Those are Microsoft, Lotus, Visio, Symantec, and Claris.

For $9.95, visitors can get email responses to technical questions. Immediate responses will come for $19.95. For $29.95, users can get a phone callback from one of Stream's 3,500 tech support staff.