MemberWorks Partners With AOL

Affinity marketer MemberWorks announced Monday it inked an agreement with America Online to push its membership programs to AOL’s 35 million users.

The agreement calls for the Stamford, Conn., company to market nine of its membership programs across the AOL network, offering AOL users discounts and sales offers from MemberWorks’ 400 retailers and service providers, including Barnes & Noble, Target and The Home Depot. AOL will significantly boost MemberWorks’ client list, which includes cataloguers and direct marketers.

MemberWorks will pay AOL a minimum of $1 million this month and $3 million next year.

“We are extremely excited about this new agreement with America Online to market our programs to their wide audience of sophisticated consumers,” said Gary Johnson, MemberWorks’ president and chief executive.

MemberWorks offers consumers paid memberships in a variety of programs tailored to specific interests. For example, the company has programs in travel, health, and insurance. With membership, consumers are given discounts on the products and services offered by merchants enrolled in the program.

For the struggling Internet unit of AOL Time Warner , the contract comes at the end of a disastrous year for its advertising business. With the end of many of the long-term deals it struck in the dot-com era, AOL has seen its advertising revenues plummet 48 percent this year. Next year, the company expect its e-commerce and ad businesses will be off 40 to 50 percent.

The AOL deal is the MemberWorks’ second significant partnership announced this month. Two weeks ago, it signed up Victoria’s Secret to market its membership program. The company boasts more than 6.3 million retail members.

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