The program, which targets Web site operators such as telecommunications portals uBundle.com and Simplexity.com, will offer commissions for sales of Sprint PCS and Sprint consumer long-distance products and services.
To participate in the program, dot-coms register online with Sprint at sprint.com and sprintpcs.com, agree to program rules, and then receive Sprint Internet Sales Affiliate Program animated logo buttons and links.
By placing the logo on their sites, Web site operators drive prospects to Sprint. If those prospects turn into sales, Sprint will pay the operators $10 for each new consumer long-distance account activation and $15 for each PCS account. The commissions will be paid quarterly.
The program, one of several online strategies for Sprint, will help the company reduce its customer acquisition costs, drive heavy volume and connect with communications-intensive users, according to Dan Alcazar, assistant VP-marketing and sales for Sprint's National Consumer Organization. "We are trying to ensure that we have a defined space as it relates to the online environment."
Sprint already offers online bill payment, live chats with sales reps, rate comparison and directory services, and international travel assistance. The company has relationships with iWon and MyPoints.
Mr. Alcazar said Sprint began beta-testing the program in February and has signed up 6,200 affiliates. The goal is to push that number to 10,000 by yearend. He declined to specify Sprint's customer acquisition costs, but said the affiliates program would help the company achieve a 75% reduction of its average acquisition costs. "This is probably 25% of our normal cost," he said.
Affiliate-style programs, according to Forrester Research, should deliver 20% of online sales for any business model.
The program will be supported by trade advertising and events, but requires virtually no big ad spends. However, Mr. Alcazar noted that Sprint is gearing up to increase its online brand messaging on TV and other venues via agency partner McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York. "We'll make a very aggressive push to position Sprint by its online capability," he said.