Shop.org enters affiliate arena for holidays

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Shop.org, which claims credit for coining the term Cyber Monday, launched a site for shoppers looking for e-commerce deals the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend.

The www.cybermonday.com site has nearly 400 retailers posting holiday promotions and special deals starting Monday, Nov. 27, and lasting throughout the Christmas holiday season. Mall Networks powers CyberMonday.com.

"We're hoping that it'll serve for consumers as a central location for Cyber Monday sales and promotions," said Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org, the online unit of the National Retail Federation, Washington.

"It's just been launched. It's the first year, [and] we have modest expectations in reaching out to consumers," he said. "But from past experience we know there's a lot of media opportunities, and we wanted to take the opportunity to steer consumers to CyberMonday.com."

The site features holiday discounts from merchants like Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Bloomingdale's, Amazon.com, Lands' End, J.C. Penney, Old Navy, Petco, Avon, GNC, Sears, Nextel and TiVo.

Based on trends, Shop.org considers Cyber Monday the official start of the holiday shopping season. The association expects holiday e-commerce sales to surpass last year's totals, mainly due to retailers targeting at-work consumers with lunch-hour specials and savings deals.

Part of the sales generated from the Web site will be donated to the Ray M. Greenly Scholarship Fund, which offers scholarships to students keen on a career in e-commerce. Mr. Greenly was a vice president at Shop.org until he passed away from cancer last year.

"Shop.org becomes an affiliate, and all the commissions we get go to the Ray M. Greenly Scholarship Fund," Mr. Silverman said.

A recent survey by Bigresearch for Shop.org claims that 61 million people will shop from work this holiday season, up from 51.7 million last year.

According to the survey, 50.7 percent of consumers with online access at work plan to do some holiday shopping over the Internet, up from 44.7 percent. Young adults with Internet access at work are the most likely to shop, with 71.5 percent of those ages 18-24 and 66.4 percent of those ages 25-34 planning to buy or browse online from work over the holidays. Employers find most employees shop during lunch hours or before and after work. n

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