Zkey.com Partners With Corel and Casio

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In an attempt to become the ultimate storage depot for consumers' daily digital data, Zkey.com plans to announce tomorrow major marketing partnerships with Corel, Virgin, Jfax.com and Casio.

A Zkey is an alphanumeric code that lets consumers store and share digital information. For example, consumers can store addresses, fax and phone numbers making them available to business associates and friends. They also can store information that will automatically be placed in e-commerce forms, thus speeding up the online purchasing process.

To increase Zkey's reach in a hurry, the Corel agreement calls for a free giveaway of hundreds of thousands of Corel software products in which the Zkey technology is embedded. This promotional effort carries a price tag of $10 million. The giveaways will occur in the early summer. Zkey will also be available at CorelCity.com.

Zkey hopes to attract early adopters to its technology by partnering with products and companies, like Corel, that are used by tech savvy consumers.

"It's not like we're selling pet food on the Web. We need the powerful distribution of established companies," said Jay Udani, president and chief operating officer of ZKey.com, Los Angeles.

Zkey expects to have four million users by year's end and up to 20 million by 2001.

A user's stored Zkey profile can also include calendars, a contact manager, resume and other information. Users can make their Zkey information page available to whomever they wish.

"Zkey becomes more interesting when it becomes exposed to a large group of individuals," said Udani. "That's where the partnerships come in."

One such partnership with Virgin will attract thousands of students at universities in the United Kingdom. Zkey has created the back-end technology for Virginstudent.com which will enable its 50,000 to 75,000 members to use Zkeys.

In 30 days, all 500,000 HollywoodStockExchange.com users will also be pre-enrolled with Zkeys.

"Everyone will receive their Zkey name and password [most likely through e-mail]," said Udani. Through an agreement signed this week, members of Jfax.com will also be pre-enrolled.

In addition to personal computers, Zkeys work on wireless and handheld devices. To get a foothold in this burgeoning market, Zkey.com is working to establish a number of high-profile partnerships with wireless device manufacturers.

The first of which is with Casio. Its Cassiopeia handheld device will be Zkey-enabled. "The growth curve of those using wireless devices will overtake that of the Web," said Udani. "We are positioned to take advantage of that and have distribution on wireless devices as soon as they come out of the box." Zkeys will be available at Casio.com as well.

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