AOL Inks Pact With Best Buy

America Online, taking note of the fact that lots of folks like to browse the computers and electronic gear in real-world Best Buy stores across the country, inked a deal for in-store promotion of its dial-up and broadband services.

But it’s certainly not an exclusive agreement. The EarthLink ISP signed a similar deal just last week with the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based electronics retailer .

The embattled Dulles, Va.-based AOL unit of AOL Time Warner spiced up its deal with Best Buy a bit by making Best Buy’s selection of consumer products available in several areas across the AOL service, including the Computing, Electronics and Entertainment sections of its e-commerce channel, Shop@AOL.

AOL said that its visitors will be able to make purchases directly from BestBuy.com, “simply and securely.” Financial specifics were not disclosed.

Special displays in Best Buy stores will provide information about AOL’s selection of online services, and store employees will be trained to help consumers sign up for AOL, the companies said.

American Online recently launched new services for broadband subscribers, including exclusive multi-media content, bundled software such as firewall security and increasingly integrated messaging applications.

“AOL is kicking our broadband marketing into high gear,” said Joe Redling, America Online’s chief marketing officer. “Best Buy is a fantastic partner to have in this effort and to help introduce new customers to the value we offer.”

AOL is searching for a way to coax its mostly dial-up base of 35 million subscribers to switch over to broadband, while continuing to serve its core base.

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