Google launches referral program for Apps suite

The company will pay participants $15 per new user account

People can now earn a finder's fee when they refer customers to Google for its Apps email and collaboration suite.

The Google Apps for Business Referral Program is open to participants in the US and Canada. It pays $US15 for every user account in a referred customer's domain, up to a maximum of 100 users, or $US1500. Users must maintain their Apps account for a minimum of 120 days.

Google will offer program participants coupons and other incentives to entice prospects to sign up, as well as templates for their email campaigns and websites. Customers must use the participant's unique referral link to sign up for Apps.

Participants can refer an unlimited number of prospective customers. Google will deposit payments directly into participants' bank accounts.

This new Apps for Business Referral Program complements the suite's existing Reseller Program, which is designed for VARs, consultants and system integrators who, beyond the initial referral, maintain a post-sales relationship with their customers, offering them other types of assistance, like technical services, billing and IT management.

Google Apps is locked in a tough battle with Microsoft's Office 365 in the cloud email and collaboration suite market and reseller partners are key for both companies. Last week, Google held its annual partner conference where it beefed up its offerings for third-party software developers and for its about 10,000 resellers.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Tags Googleapplicationse-mailsoftwareinternetcloud computingSoftware as a servicecollaborationOffice suites

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