Comet revamps site for ‘e-tail’

News International has signed a deal to feature merchandising site lastminute.com on its online version of The Times (www.the-times.co.uk) and Sunday Times (www.sunday-times.co.uk). Site visitors will be offered discounted flights, breaks and entertainment services. Paul Simon, commercial director of News International Internet Publishing, describes the link-up as NI’s “first flight-only live merchant deal”.

Amazon.co.uk has relaunched its “associate” programme for Website operators. The scheme requires participating companies to create “seamless” links from their sites to Amazon.co.uk. “Associates” can receive up to 15 per cent of sales bought through the direct links…

…Shares in Amazon.com ended the year trading 1,300 per cent higher than at the beginning of 1998, despite the company’s failure to achieve a profit during the year.

BOL, the e-commerce arm of the Bertelsmann media group, has appointed new media agency Pixelpark USA (www.pixelpark.com) as its lead new media agency. The agency, a branch of the Berlin-based Pixelpark, is 75 per cent owned by the Bertelsmann group.

AOL, the world’s biggest Internet service provider, says it reached 15 million subscribers by the end of December – only seven weeks after breaking through the 14 million subscriber barrier in November…

…AOL has reported its customers spent $1.2bn (727m) online through its service in the Christmas shopping period from the end of November. Purchases included toys, clothing, books and travel services. The estimates do not specify what proportion of spending was made through AOL’s own shopping channels or directly from retailers accessed through AOL.

America’s top five record companies, represented through the industry-wide body Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), are backing the development of a pirate-proof software platform which will allow the downloading and sale of music over the Internet. The move follows unsuccessful legal moves by the RIAA in November to prevent the sale to consumers of Diamond Multimedia’s RIO PMP300. The RIO, a Walkman-style device, is widely seen as a threat to music sales.

Playboy, the adult publishing and broadcasting company, has denied that it has any immediate plans to float shares in its lucrative online business.

Carlsberg’s new media account won by AKQA last month is believed to have a spend of six figures, not the seven figures suggested in Marketing Week, December 10.

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