The company today announced it has reached marketing agreements with six firms under the Premier Partnership Program it launched earlier this year.
The partners include card and gift company American Greetings, Net coupon firm CoolSavings, Net connectivity technology firm Netopia, Sprint, Spyglass-owned Net filtering software company SurfWatch, and Wired Digital, according to EarthLink.
Terms of the deals were not disclosed. Online services such as America Online and portal sites such as Yahoo and Excite have been paid huge sums by advertisers that want access to the massive traffic such sites attract.
For example, In April, Realtor.com agreed to pay AOL $14 million to become the online giant's exclusive real estate listing service for just over three years. Similarly, business travel site TheTrip.com is paying portal AltaVista $15 million over five years to be the Digital Equipment-owned site's exclusive provider of travel services and content.
"This program will give Premiere Partners a unified approach to reaching potential customers across EarthLink's multiple media properties," Gregory Wester, vice president of Internet market research at the Yankee Group, said in a statement. "These properties could prove a big advantage to marketing and advertising partners, since EarthLink has one of the most active member bases in the industry. EarthLink members average more than one hour online per day--that's a lot of air time."
In February, Sprint took a 30 percent stake in EarthLink in a deal valued at $230 million.
The marketing program offers three levels of involvement: Silver, which gives the advertiser exposure within EarthLink's access software, bimonthly newsletter, and software e-commerce area as well as banner ads; Gold, which adds participation in EarthLink events and EarthLink Mall promotions along with second right of refusal on deals with competing companies; and Platinum, which allows first right of refusal and custom-designed marketing arrangements. Gold and Platinum partners also are offered further marketing opportunities such as placement within the service's preset bookmark list, EarthLink said.
"As the Internet becomes more and more a part of our members' daily lives, EarthLink becomes increasingly attractive to companies that are looking to strategically focus their marketing efforts," Howard Lefkowitz, vice president of business development at EarthLink, said in a statement. "This isn't about slapping a few banner ads up on our site. It's a soup-to-nuts Internet solution for our partners to enhance their brand and sell products through a variety of different media."