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Internet

Greeting card deal boosts AOL

AOL and American Greetings reach an agreement to provide online greeting cards through AOL, propelling the online service's stock to another 52-week high.

    America Online (AOL) and American Greetings (AGREA) announced today that they have reached an agreement to provide online greeting cards through AOL, propelling the online service's stock to another 52-week high.

    Meanwhile, stock in Excite (XCIT) rose 5-5/8 to close at 34-3/8 today after the search engine firm announced new marketing deals that it said would "positively impact" its third-quarter earnings.

    Many of Excite's deals already were announced, but it also included some new marketing pacts with CDnow, Consumers Car Club, First Auction, GolfWeb, and Greet Street.

    Following the other search engines into the land of electronic commerce, AltaVista named online bookseller Amazon.com the exclusive bookseller on the search service. Under the terms of the deal, Amazon.com will have direct links from search results pages to related book titles.

    These examples underscore the close relationships between online services and search engines and show the industry is diversifying its revenue stream with marketing deals.

    In its deal, AOL will receive a $3 million advance payment in the first year, part of the three-year, multimillion-dollar partnership.

    American Greetings will develop hundreds of electronic postcards for AOL that can be sent by users via email. Animated and interactive greetings will be available in the near future, according to America Online.

    For the initial launch, electronic greeting cards will be available in AOL's prototype Card-O-Matic store, soon to be replaced with a cobranded AOL/American Greetings Electronic Greetings store.

    In addition, American Greetings will be an anchor tenant in AOL's new shopping channel.

    Earlier this week, AOL launched its new channel lineup, streamlining its existing structure to create more straightforward categories and easier access.

    AOL stock closed at 83-3/4 today, up 3/4.

    Internet news editor Jeff Pelline and reporter Stephanie Miles contributed to this report.