Microsoft turns to Tupperware strategy to sell Windows 7

Windows 7Hosting parties in your home has been a tried-and-true method of selling products from Tupperware and cooking equipment to sex toys. Now Microsoft is applying the strategy to computer software, offering a free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate to those willing to host a launch party for their friends. Unlike the aforementioned items, however, hosts will not be actually selling copies of Windows, but simply building exposure for it. The parties will be organized by Houseparty.com.

Perhaps there are customers out there that view a new version of the Windows operating system as an exciting occasion. Having experienced every release since the first, though, I approach each update with trepidation. I've run afoul of too many turkeys like Windows Millennium.

The more interesting aspect of this offer, to me, is the company that will coordinate the program. Houseparty is an Internet-based firm that offers peer-to-peer marketing to companies wishing to build buzz for their products. Houseparty recruits people to become house party hosts, hosting soirees in their homes for friends and family centered around the product, such as a television show debut, a new food or beverage, music release or other consumer item.

The house party hosts are given freebies and promotional material to share with party attendees. The host also receives a gift for his/her efforts. House Party claims to be able to gather tens of thousands of consumers at such parties, helping create a critical mass of awareness for the target product. The same crowds can be used to measure public enthusiasm for the new product. Companies who have used the service include Domino's, Ford, Hershey's and the French government (to boost wine and cheese sales).

My guess? At more than a few of the parties, the guests will find a way to lock up the Windows 7 computers. If I were a host, I'd have alternative entertainment ready, just in case. How about a Mac?

Thanks, Engadget

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