Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, said "For customers, AppStore will make purchasing on-demand applications as easy as buying music on iTunes, and for partners, AppStore will remove the burden and expense of building out a sales and distribution channel."
The program, to be phased in during 2007, will provide small and start-up developers with a relatively easy way of marketing their products. Although it should minimise the investment needed to build sales, it does come at a price. Salesforce.com will charge a 20 percent commission on sales processed though its Checkout ordering and billing system, scheduled for introduction in the fourth quarter of 2007.
Two levels of referral services will be offered. The standard level provides premium placement in searches and catalogues plus "eligibility" for other services, and attracts a 10 percent commission. Premium referrals - for which Salesforce.com pockets a healthy 25 percent commission - also allow participation in demand generation programs and the opportunity to education Salesforce.com's customer-facing employees about the benefits of the product.
The basic referral program should start early next year, while the premium service is expected in the third quarter.