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Earthlink Expands SMB Unit, Launches Channel Programs

EarthLink Inc. on Monday announced it is expanding and renaming its small and midsized businesses unit to incorporate capabilities from its wholly owned subsidiary New Edge Networks Inc.

The new unit, EarthLink Business Solutions, also will expand its channel program with changes to its VAR program, and the addition of referral and agent programs.

Historically, Earthlinks SMB unit has been focused on providing access and Web hosting services to the smaller end of the business market while New Edge has focused on providing access solutions to the midmarket and multilocation retailers, said Linda Beck, executive vice president and general manager for EarthLink Business Solutions. With Earthlinks recent acquisition of New Edge Networks, Earthlink Business Solutions is able to serve a broader range of customers from SOHO to medium-sized businesses, she said.

As an example, Beck said Earthlink Business Solutions now will be able to extend the capabilities of New Edge Networks retail credit card processing infrastructure to offer small businesses retail point-of-sale bundles that will allow the smaller business that are sill using dialup to migrate over to broadband as well.

Similarly, while New Edge Networks provides direct-claims processing to the health care industry, Earthlink Business Solutions will be able to serve smaller doctors offices and pharmacies, she said.

Beck added the changes also will impact both companies channels.

We are integrating with New Edges channel, so we will be able to offer Earthlinks products through the New Edge channel, she said, citing the integration of dial-up and Web hosting into the New Edge Networks bundles.

Additionally, Earthlink Business Solutions resells New Edge Networks broadband access footprint, enabling its partners to offer access services nationwide. To that end, the business unit is launching its first referral program for all access, Web hosting and dial-up products. Referral partners receive a one-time bounty on closed sales.

The company also is relaunching its reseller program, which will pay bounties and/or residual commissions to agents representing its services to business customers. While the program previously existed, Beck said it was underused.

Finally, EarthLink Business Solutions is enhancing its Web hosting VAR program to include four levels bronze through platinum and allowing resellers to receive discounts of up to 60 percent off the retail rate, depending on volume. Domain registration would be free to VARs who maintain a customer base of at least 50 accounts.

EarthLinks VAR program is administered by dedicated account managers and receives 24-hour technical support. Beck said the VAR program primarily caters to Web designers and small ISPs, but will be seeking relationships with partners working in the retail and health care verticals.

EarthLink www.EarthLink.net
New Edge Networks Inc. www.newedgenetworks.com


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