SuperPages.com, InfoSpace Ink Five-Year Alliance

Advertisers on phone directory publisher Verizon Information Services’s SuperPages.com will gain additional exposure through a deal the firm cut this week with Bellevue, Wash.-based InfoSpace.

InfoSpace, which distributes content and e-commerce opportunities from paying customers via Web and wireless affiliates, will carry content from SuperPages.com, Dallas-based Verizon’s online yellow pages listing, through terms of the five-year agreement.

As a result, SuperPages.com’s yellow pages and its merchant services will be integrated into InfoSpace’s platform for distribution across its affiliate network. InfoSpace said SuperPages.com should appear in the network in July.

Financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed.

It’s a sizable distribution gain for Verizon: InfoSpace counts more than 3,200 sites in its affiliate network, including such heavyweights as MSN, Terra Lycos, and others. Verizon, which already is the yellow pages provider on AOL, Excite, and Ask Jeeves, stands to benefit from additional exposure for its clients. Ultimately, that could translate to greater leverage in pricing because of its expanded reach.

Additionally, SuperPages.com will also see additional help in the sales department: InfoSpace will sell SuperPages.com yellow pages to its affiliated merchants.

“Today’s announcement represents a dramatic shift in the online services industry by bringing together the unique strengths of two market leaders,” said Verizon Information Services’ Patrick Marshall, who is group vice president for marketing for the company. “By working with InfoSpace, we are able to develop a new sales channel and reach millions of potential customers and Internet users.”

InfoSpace chairman and chief executive Naveen Jain painted the agreement as a win for advertisers — especially for SuperPages.com’s e-commerce customers, who will be able to take advantage of built-in mobile and Web transaction tools on InfoSpace’s platform, similar to the ones built into the SuperPages.com Web site.

“Under this relationship, Verizon and InfoSpace will help to create the most comprehensive offering for merchants in the market today,” Jain said. “We are focused on providing the best underlying technology platform for merchants, and today’s announced partnership with Verizon is a testament to those efforts.”

This week’s news is the latest development in Verizon Information System’s continuing effort to expand its features and distribution.

In late October, Marshall outlined an “aggressive” plan to make SuperPages.com the dominant online and wireless yellow pages provider, which included the integration of onetime competitor BigYellow.com (operated by GTE, which had formed with BellAtlantic to form Verizon Communications, Verizon Information Services’ parent). Verizon Information Services at the time also announced a deal to provide its content on Palm’s wireless platform, Palm.Net.

In mid-April, the company announced a deal with ad network Engage and couponing startup Eversave to offer banner ad buys and online coupons to SuperPages.com advertisers, as an add-on service.

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