Online auction company eBay is extending a marketing partnership with AOL Time Warner to include offline advertising.

The two companies will today unveil a three-year alliance within which eBay will advertise in AOL TW’s print and TV media as well as on America Online. Financial details are as yet unknown.

The auction site has had a cosy relationship with AOL since 1997 and in 1999 paid $75 million in promotional deals directed at AOL subscribers. AOL then merged with Time Warner to form the world’s largest media group, adding offline properties to its internet business.

Despite the high price of the original deal, eBay appears to be happy with the results, and in May tested ads on the media mammoth’s Turner Broadcasting Network before agreeing to the new partnership.

“We wanted to move beyond an online deal to the broad array of Time Warner assets,” commented Bill Cobb, eBay’s senior vp–global marketing.

The new pact also adds one extra year to the e-tailer’s original four-year online ad agreement and extends an arrangement with AOL TW whereby the latter sells advertising on eBay’s site.

By expanding its AOL alliance, eBay is effectively refusing to take sides in the growing rivalry between AOL TW and Microsoft, with which the auction site forged a deal in March.

News source: Wall Street Journal