eBay, AOL Expand Marketing Deal

Online auction giant eBay will to continue to promote itself via AOL Time Warner, upping its marketing reach with increased exposure on the New York media giant’s offline and online outlets.

The two have had a marketing agreement since 1997. But under the new alliance, San Jose, Calif.-based eBay will receive increased promotion across America Online sites, and on offline properties owned by America Online parent AOL Time Warner.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Specifically, the three-year marketing deal calls for Dulles, Va.-based America Online to continue serving as eBay’s exclusive third-party ad rep firm, selling what spokespeople termed “a significant portion” of the auction site’s inventory.

The America Online and its affiliated Web sites — AOL.com, Netscape.com, CompuServe.com and AOL Digital City — will continue to carry advertising and promotions for eBay. Similarly, AOL-controlled online properties — like CNN.com and People.com — now will host links and other promotions for eBay.

Meanwhile, AOL Time Warner’s Turner broadcast TV division (which controls TNT and TBS Superstation) and its Time Inc. magazine division (which publishes People, Fortune and TIME) will also promote eBay through as-yet-unspecified marketing tie-ins.

“We are very pleased to expand and broaden our alliance with eBay, one of the great innovators in online commerce,” said America Online chairman and chief executive Barry Schuler. “eBay is joining the growing list of top companies who have expanded alliances with America Online to take advantage of the opportunities offered by AOL Time Warner’s unparalleled range of media assets.”

The new agreement reprises a history of the auction site’s marketing via America Online. In 1998, the companies struck a $12 million, three-year deal that placed eBay in AOL’s classifieds and hobby special interest areas. The deal also created an AOL Keyword for the site.

In 1999, the companies signed a separate, four-year, $75 million e-commerce agreement that saw AOL taking on ad rep duties for eBay, and adding the site’s auction listings and message boards to its own online services to create co-branded areas and sites for AOL users.

“Our relationship over the years with America Online has been a huge success,” said Meg Whitman, eBay President and CEO. “Working across AOL Time Warner’s tremendous assortment of media properties will allow us to bring eBay to more consumers than ever before. The entire eBay community will benefit from the increased awareness and traffic that this new deal should generate.”

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