eTour.com, eMachines Partner in “Desktop Portal” Deal

eTour.com, a company that takes visitors
on guided “tours” of the Web, is tapping eMachines Inc. to drive traffic to its
site, in a deal that would put a Web surfing button on eMachines’ personal computers.


The agreement, financial terms of which were not disclosed, makes eTour the
exclusive tenant on the “Surf” key on the company’s “eBoard” Internet
keyboards. Current eTour members who press the button will be linked to
their personalized surfing area at the site, while non-members will be sent
to a registration page.


Keyboard buttons, like those eMachines is providing, appear to be gaining
ground as the latest version of a portal — a desktop portal. Rather than
providing links on a site, companies are offering buttons on a keyboard.
Start-up RocketBoard is basing its
business model on the idea, and has struck a deal with America Online to place the
ISP on its board. The idea is thought to be especially effective in
reaching people new to the Internet, in that buttons make navigating the
Web more simple for those overwhelmed by the choices.


“With the proliferation of Web sites nearing 40 million, the sheer volume
of choice is overwhelming, especially for our first-time PC consumers who
are new to the Internet,” said Stephen Dukker, president and chief
executive officer of eMachines, Inc.


Adds Roger Barnette, chief executive officer of eTour.com, “eMachines’
customers are an ideal match for eTour — their users are looking for a fast
and easy way to access the Internet, and we provide a fast, easy and
personal way to explore the Internet.”


The keyboards will be sold, along with PCs, beginning in mid-summer.

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