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Christmas Gift Guide
Tech Industry

Egreetings, FTD.com sign promotions deal

The electronic card company and FTD.com announce an agreement to promote each other's products and services.

Electronic card company Egreetings Networks and FTD.com announced an agreement today to promote each other's products and services.

Under the agreement, FTD.com, the Internet arm of the FTD, will offer its customers specially made online greeting cards designed by Egreetings, while Egreetings will feature a jointly developed FTD.com "boutique" on its site, selling floral arrangements and specialty gifts to its customers.

In addition, FTD.com, a floral services provider, has agreed to buy advertising and promote Egreetings in its marketing and advertising campaigns.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The partnership comes as many traditional flower and greeting card retailers prepare for one of their biggest holidays: Valentine's Day.

"Egreetings' primary traffic driver is their free greeting cards, and the more branded merchants they can partner with, the greater the opportunity to turn this traffic into revenue," said Jupiter Research analyst Mike May.

Egreetings, one of the leading electronic greeting card sites, went public last month to brief fanfare. The San Francisco-based company sold 6 million shares for $10, the middle of the company's estimated range. In its first day trading, shares climbed to $16.25, but they later slipped back to close at $10.56. At 1 p.m. PST today, the close of regular trading, Egreetings shares were up 6 cents, or about 0.6 percent, at $10.13.

One of the biggest obstacles for electronic greetings companies is that most provide their virtual cards to consumers free of charge. Users have become accustomed to sending friends the free cards, which can include graphics, animated cartoons and music, via email.

Although Egreetings and many of its rivals, such as Blue Mountain Arts and American Greetings, continue to attract large amounts of traffic--all three are rated among top 100 sites on the Web, according to Internet research group PC Data Online--converting that big traffic into big dollars has proven difficult.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1999, Egreetings reported revenues of $1.5 million and a net loss of $22 million.

Forrester Research projects that online flower sales will grow from $354 million in 1999 to $2.5 billion in 2004.