Microsoft calls in Nicholas Parsons to push Net venture

Microsoft has approached Nicholas Parsons, former question master of hit TV quiz show Sale of the Century, to launch its new Internet shopping channel.

A number of proposals are being considered by the software manufacturer to promote the November 4 launch of the channel on its MSN information site, a specially-developed high traffic site.

One plan includes the use of a picture of the TV celebrity on the Shopping Channel Web page, positioning Parsons as a “retail therapist” or “agony uncle” for shoppers looking to make Christmas purchases over the Internet.

Users would be invited to e-mail him to ask for advice about which Web sites they should visit in order to make essential Christmas purchases. The team at MSN would then e-mail the answers to their queries.

Microsoft has also suggested that Parsons could launch a shopping guide to the Internet.

Tom Bowman, director of Microsoft online sales, refused to comment on plans to use Parsons.

He says: “We are bringing together the best partners we can find with the broadest spread of products.”

Bowman refuses to say which household brand names have signed up to the channel. He claims they will include some which already appear on the MSN shopping directory. Brands such as Racing Green, the Internet Book Shop and Interflora already appear in the directory.

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