Internet services provider Uunet Pipex is stepping up the pressure on its rivals in the battle for resellers. The company has exclusively revealed to PC Dealer advance details of Team Uunet Pipex, its formalised reseller strategy.
Channel group manager Martin Temple said that many resellers which previously had little interest in the Internet are now being forced to consider the best ISP offerings because their customers are asking for Internet hook-up and Web sites.
'There is a dramatic shift in the market at the moment, which resellers are becoming aware of. Historically, we have been selling our services into the big technically-literate corporates such as banks and building societies. But now we are finding that smaller companies are telling their dealers they want links into the Internet as well.'
Temple said that many resellers which do not have Internet expertise in-house are happy to refer their customers to Uunet Pipex and receive a one-off referral fee from u175 to u5,525. 'It is up to the reseller how much the customer sees of us,' said Temple. 'We arrange to put in everything up to the router and leave the rest to the reseller if that's what it wants.'
Temple said that one Team Uunet Pipex reseller made u50,000 in one month from referral fees alone.
But archrival PSI Net, which is also making a big play for specialist Vars, questioned whether resellers want a one-off payment. 'We offer five per cent to eight per cent margin the first year and then a sliding scale of ongoing payments according to how much effort the reseller puts into keeping those clients with us,' said marketing manager Dorothy Briggs.
'The serious resellers want an ongoing relationship with its customers.
It wants to develop its expertise, not hand everything over to another company.'
At Netcom, the third of the big three ISPs from the US, marketing director David Furniss said a reseller strategy is being developed for launch early next year.
Netcom UK has several former Compaq employees who pride themselves on having developed a reseller strategy in the 80s that took huge chunks out of IBM's market share. 'We will probably go with a margin model,' Furniss said, 'because we understand that resellers like to be in control of the sale and like to be rewarded for what they put into it.'
Netcom has just appointed Nigel Pitcher from ICL to head its reseller drive.
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