Barnes & Noble has adopted a new weapon in its online war with Web-only bookseller Amazon.com - software that can track sales from its affiliates and make inventory control more efficient.
BarnesandNoble.com, the retailer's recently launched online service, will use Bfast, tracking software from Be Free. Bfast will track the books that are shown to visitors of any Web site run by a Barnes & Noble affiliate company, plus how many respond to each book and how many make a purchase.
The bookstore will be able to provide sales and effectiveness reporting on individual titles on a daily basis to all its affiliates. Samuel Gerace, chief executive of Be Free, said: "Bfast allows Barnes & Noble to take their products to the consumer, matching what they offer to a specific consumer's interests."
A second component of the three-year deal will see BarnesandNoble.com using its network to carry millions of monthly advertising hits to suppliers and advertisers using Be Free's Intelligent Targeting product.
Barnes & Noble is currently engaged in a ferocious battle for control of the online book retail market. In its favour, it has one of the strongest retail brand names in the US but it is now fighting for the established online niche that Amazon.com has secured for itself as a pioneer in the e-trade market. The two firms have sued and countersued one another, alleging false advertising and unfair trading practices.
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