Spinway Adds Costco To Free-Internet Fold

Spinway Inc., has brought another retail giant into the free Internet fold Monday, announcing a three-way co-marketing program with Costco Wholesale Corp. and Yahoo Inc.

It’s a continuation of Spinway’s strategy to acquire subscribers through partnerships with recognized bricks-and-mortar companies.

The Internet service provider made a similar deal with K Mart Corp. and Yahoo, launching Bluelight.com to the masses. Spinway also has co-marketing agreements with CapitalOne Financial Corp. and Spiegel .

Capitalizing on name brand recognition suits the ISP well, as it has vaulted Spinway to the top of the charts as the eighth largest Internet provider in the nation with 1.7 million active subscribers.

Costco, an international wholesale warehouse chain, offers its members name-brand merchandise at lower prices, as it buys in bulk. As part of their membership, customers are eligible for Costco’s free unlimited Internet access, and can install the software from a CD-ROM available at all locations or from its web site.

Spinway will provide the 24/7 customer support and the ad banner software that goes on every account using Costco’s free Internet access.

Steve Seabolt, Spinway chairman and chief executive officer, said the addition of Costco builds on its network of retail companies and gives the wholesale company an effective Internet presence beyond its Web site.

“Spinway is pleased to be working with Costco and Yahoo to offer a high-quality, free serve to millions of loyal Costco members, who are an important addition to our network,” Seabolt said. “Spinway’s co-branded free ISP service enables Costco to develop direct one-to-one relationships with its members to increase online brand awareness and to provide information on what’s happening at Costco locations.”

The wholesaler is also expanding its Web presence, inking a deal with Yahoo to become a premier merchant on the popular Internet portal.

Anmil Singh, Yahoo chief sales and marketing officer, said Costco’s addition increases the portal’s e-commerce platform, called Yahoo Fusion Marketing.

“We’re pleased to enter into this innovative relationship with Costco and look forward to leveraging Yahoo’s online platform with Costco-s offline brand strength and loyal customer base,” Singh said.

“The agreement with Costco and Spinway is yet another example of our commitment to offer a great breadth and depth of high-quality products and services to our millions of users. Costco is the latest select brand leader to choose to communicate and transact online through Yahoo Fusion Marketing, which allows any company to build an audience, communicate with that audience and sell to them online.”

It’s a potential windfall for Yahoo and Spinway, with more than 33 million Costco cardholders worldwide, 80,000 employees and sales of more than $31 billion last fiscal year.

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