Be Free Launches New Service in Europe

[London, ENGLAND] Affiliate marketing company
Be Free announced Tuesday the launch of its
performance-based service in Europe, forecasting
a “sea-change” in online marketing on that side
of the Atlantic.

Having already secured brand name customers in
the U.K. such as BOL.com, Ask Jeeves UK, Gateway UK,
lastminute.com and QXL, Be Free has decided to
mount a full-scale attack on the European market.
It claims its next generation of hosted online
marketing services will fundamentally change the
way companies market their products and services
on the Internet.

The new service enables companies to execute
performance-based affiliate schemes and deliver
personalized product and content recommendations
on their Web sites using Be Free’s hosted services.

Gordon Hoffstein, Be Free’s chairman and chief
executive, said the market potential for his
company is huge because the e-commerce industry
is looking for alternatives to traditional
online marketing techniques.

“We will be offering online merchants in Europe a
fully hosted, custom-branded service where they
can create and own their affiliate sales channel,
instead of operating in a ‘shared’ network, in which
they run the risk of loosing financial and marketing
autonomy,” explained Hoffstein.

Hoffstein’s ideas appear to be well supported by
major clients in Europe. Ernst Boesch, vice president
of international marketing at BOL, said affiliate
marketing is emerging as the most cost-effective way
to acquire new customers, increase sales and extend
brand reach.

“Be Free’s affiliate marketing solution allowed us to
develop affiliate channels in six countries and realize
the strength of performance-based affiliate marketing
in Europe,” said Boesch.

Pete Flint, head of distribution at lastminute.com, said
Be Free’s online marketing service enables lastminute.com
to expand its own affiliate sales channel and manage
relationships more effectively.

According to recent forecasts by research company
Forrester, the pay-for-performance market will reach
US $12 billion by 2003, with 21 percent of business-to-consumer
online sales accounted for through strategic affiliate
marketing programmes.

Currently, Be Free maintains offices in both the U.K. and
France, but says it will extend its European operations
during the coming year.

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