Monetizing the Handshake
By Jeanette Borzo

(Business 2.0) – Even when salespeople are in the right place at the right time, they're not always selling the right product. A San Francisco startup called InnerSell is solving that problem with a variation on social networking that pays salespeople for making virtual introductions. Say a rep peddles PCs, but his client is in need of printers. He can join for free and find a printer vendor. If his client buys from that vendor, the rep gets a commission (typically about 10 percent).

Though online business networking is nothing new, InnerSell and upstart Jigsaw are the first to actually pay people for their connections. Founded in 2002, InnerSell secured a promise of $1 million from venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson in 2004, and some 1,000 salespeople have already joined. Let the virtual schmoozing begin. --JEANETTE BORZO