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Drkoop, AOL ink $89 million content deal

America Online and Drkoop.com, the health information Web site cofounded by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, announce an $89 million alliance.

Drkoop.com will soon be making house calls via America Online.

Drkoop.com, the health information Web site cofounded by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, and America Online today announced a four-year, $89 million alliance in which Drkoop.com will provide health information services to AOL's sites.

Through the partnership, Drkoop.com will be available across five AOL brands, including AOL and CompuServe's combined 19 million subscriber members. Drkoop.com also will be accessible to visitors of AOL.com, Netscape Netcenter, and Digital City.

The companies expect to roll out Drkoop.com content across the AOL brands this fall.

Under the agreement, Drkoop.com will give AOL guaranteed payments totaling $89 million over four years. Drkoop.com also will give AOL fully vested and performance-based warrants to purchase shares in Drkoop.com.

Health information sites are some of the fastest-growing destinations on the Internet, and an increasing number of big players are entering the field. News America Digital Publishing, a subsidiary of News Corporation, launched its Health Network this month. Healtheon and WebMD (which have agreed to merge), the Health Network, and a host of other companies are hoping to bring e-commerce components to these information sites.

Drkoop.com plans to use software from the Sun-Netscape alliance to power the AOL rollout of its services. The company hopes the technology will allow for the scalability necessary to support e-commerce and the anticipated increase in traffic to Drkoop.com sites.

"This agreement is also a clear example of the end-to-end e-commerce solutions that AOL, the Sun-Netscape Alliance, and Sun Microsystems as a cohesive team can bring to our enterprise customers," AOL president Robert Pittman said in a statement.

Drkoop.com plans to leverage AOL's interactive sales force of more than 600 to build advertising and e-commerce opportunities across all Drkoop.com and affiliate sites, as well as to support the release of several new products and services throughout the four-year agreement.