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Excite Inks $125M Banking Deal

Excite Inc. said Wednesday it will add services of the nation's fifth largest bank holding company, Bank One (ONE), to its home page during the first half of 1999.

Bank One will be marketed on, as well as the Excite-programmed portions of Netscape's portal, Netcenter, and The company said the agreement has the potential to be worth more than $125 million to Excite.

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"Bank One will distribute our services, particularly the Excite (XCIT) personal page, across its customer base, which is about a third of the U.S. population," CEO George Bell told "So we expect to expand our distribution through the relationship, and thus our page views."

Much of the Bank One promotion initially will be brand building for Excite in the form of bill stuffers and printed materials mailed to Bank One's customers. "Higher brand awareness is very valuable to us right now," Bell said.

Excite will generate revenue from the multi-year agreement through increased page views and advertising revenues, and also through payments by Bank One for new customers acquired through the Web, customers converted to online banking, and other transactions.

Giving Bank One a permanent place on the Excite front page is not without precedent. Last week Microsoft (MSFT) announced an arrangement with Merrill Lynch (MER) in which the brokerage firm has a dedicated area on the MoneyCentral front page and the right to specify its content. Bank One's area on Excite will let users open checking and savings accounts, obtain credit cards, get a home equity or car loan or mortgage, buy insurance, invest, and receive and pay bills.

"Everything that we've learned from our users says they want to be able to conveniently organize their financial life," Bell said. "What they haven't been able to do is organize the most frequently used parts of it. The Web's gotten good at stocks and trading; what it hasn't done is pick up the traffic associated with the more mundane things of daily life."

Written By Frank Barnako

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