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AOL in $31 million Yellow Pages deal

Promoting online consumer confidence at heart of agreement

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AOL has signed a $31 million deal with Bell Atlantic and GTE Directories in an attempt at increasing consumer confidence in online transactions. The new online Yellow Pages database is to be made available to all of AOL's 12 million members -- plus the millions of other visitors attracted to its portal -- to provide the "most complete shopping information available anywhere on the Internet." Available later this month, the Yellow Pages directory contains listings for 11 million US businesses, as well as product and service information for thousands of advertisers. According to a report published last week, researching products is one of the four most popular things people do online. "AOL members value having easy access to trusted brands, and in the Yellow Pages category, GTE's SuperPages and Bell Atlantic's Big Yellow are two of the biggest names available," said Barry Schuler, president of AOL Interactive Services at America Online. "Recent research also shows that one of the top reasons people go online is to get product information, which is why we believe offering a fast, accurate, reliable Yellow Pages feature will be a valuable resource in our members’ everyday lives. "We think that the shopping information offered by GTE and Bell Atlantic will be a great fit for the AOL community," he said. Under the terms of the three-year agreement AOL will receive guaranteed payments of $31 million in a combination of advertising sales and distribution revenue.®

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