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AOL, Open Table strike marketing deal

OpenTable.com and America Online are set to announce they will team to allow customers to book restaurant reservations over AOL's Digital City sites.

In a deal to be announced tomorrow, OpenTable.com and America Online are teaming up to allow customers to book restaurant reservations over AOL's Digital City Web sites.

AOL's Digital City network, which includes AOL.com, CompuServe, and Netscape's Netcenter, will link to OpenTable's dining reservation system. OpenTable.com operates in nine cities, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

For OpenTable, the partnership gives it access to AOL's 20 million users, while AOL expands its service offerings.

As they try to raise their profiles and increase market share, players in the online reservation segment are striking alliances and attracting high-flying investors. Last week, McDonalds and Blockbuster were among a group that invested $80 million in Food.com, which is expanding its business to include a restaurant reservation service.

In January, San Francisco-based OpenTable inked a similar deal with the NYToday.com, the online entertainment guide owned by the New York Times. Under the terms of that agreement, the companies operate a cobranded Web site that allows New Yorkers and residents in surrounding areas a way to reserve a table to restaurants in New York City and surrounding areas.

In November, Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch launched an online reservation services, which also allowed users to reserve tee times at golf courses and schedule personal appointments, as well as reserve a restaurant table.

Founded in 1998, OpenTable.com is backed by venture capital firm Benchmark Capital.