Bluelight.com, a joint venture of Kmart and SOFTBANK Venture Capital, on Thursday started distributing free CD-ROMs loaded with its free ISP software, in more than 1,400 Big Kmart and Super Kmart stores nationwide.
The marketing effort leverages Kmart’s bricks-and-mortar distribution network, and follows a customer acquisition model most similar to Freeserve, a free ISP in the UK owned by electronics retailer Dixons.
The CD-ROM distribution is a marketing effort for Yahoo, also an investor in BlueLight.com. Folks who install the software will be greeted by a co-branded BlueLight.com My Yahoo start page with Yahoo content and e-commerce from BlueLight.com. Users will also be offered the chance to sign up for Yahoo’s other services.
The marketing push is aimed at bringing average Joe consumers, who may not be able to afford monthly dial-up service, into the age of e-commerce.
“We are providing an amazing no-cost, no-risk opportunity for American consumers, who might not yet have had the chance, to experience the Internet,” says Mark Goldstein, chief executive officer of BlueLight.com.
“Free Internet services such as those available through BlueLight.com will help narrow the gap between those who have access to the array of information and services found online and those who do not.”
The company plans to re-launch the BlueLight.com Web site later this year. The site currently offers only a limited number of items.