Virgin Net has signed an exclusive agreement with online bookstore Amazon.co.uk for what is effectively a 'commission on sales' deal.
Under the three-year agreement, which the companies claim is the largest ecommerce "mega deal" in Europe to date, Amazon.co.uk will receive prominent placement through specific links and advertising throughout the Virgin site.
The partnership will also include ?creative marketing? such as special discounts and free trial online starter packs.
Both companies said the terms of the agreement were confidential. ?On a very basic level, Amazon pays Virgin as and when it brings customers to us,? Dr Simon Murdoch, managing director of Amazon.co.uk, told a round table at Virgin Net?s London headquarters today.
Murdoch said the deal was very important to Amazon.co.uk because both companies have a brand synergy ?to offer the best possible customer experience through good value, great customer service?.
David Clarke, chief executive for Virgin Net, said that there will be close integration between the content the two companies will work on together for the site.
?It is not a question of them paying to sit on our site, which has happened with some Internet service provider content deals. We?ll be working creatively together without compromising our customers," Clarke claimed.
So they would not, for example, be selling databases of their subscribers addresses. ?It is another value add for our customers,? he said.
Clarke said the deal will not affect Virgin Publishing, which is launching a site soon. ?They are a supplier to Amazon, so we don?t view it as competition,? he said.
Amazon will be Virgin Net?s exclusive book supplier, but Amazon.co.uk has not written off making similar deals. ?We are leaving our options open, but it may be the last you will see for some time,? said Murdoch.
Virgin Net will get an added boost in the next couple of weeks when NTL launches its Internet set-top box. NTL is a minority shareholder in Virgin Net and it will come as a loaded trial on the boxes, according to industry sources.
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