National Geographic Signs Promotional Deal With AOL

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National Geographic yesterday announced a multiyear cross-promotional agreement with America Online Inc.


As part of the deal, National Geographic will gain real estate on AOL channels such as travel, news, kids only, and research and learn. Nationalgeographic.com's content also will run on Netscape's travel, and research and learn channels.


Content by nationalgeographic.com will include material on photography, travel, animals and nature, news, kids, and maps and geography. National Geographic's line of products also will be sold at the Shop@AOL channel.


The National Geographic content on AOL goes live Nov. 21.


In return, AOL keywords will appear on the covers of the flagship National Geographic magazine, National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic World and on-air promotions on the National Geographic Channel.


"I think it's going to give us increased traffic and newer and broader audiences," said Carol Seitz, spokeswoman at National Geographic.


"Traditionally, AOL has not been our largest source of traffic," Seitz said, "but now with this alliance, we look forward to sharing our content with AOL users and extending the mission of the organization, which is the diffusion of geographic knowledge."


The deal is part of an effort by Nationalgeographic.com to increase traffic.


Meanwhile, Nationalgeographic.com's Map Machine area saw a considerable increase in traffic in the week following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.


The site at www.nationalgeographic.com/mapmachine recorded 1,897,229 page views in the Sept. 11-17 week. This was up 121 percent from Sept. 4-10, which saw 858,158 page views.


This growth was "because people wanted a better understanding about Afghanistan, the surrounding countries, the type of terrain, the type of resources and to learn more about the people," said Mitchell Praver, president of nationalgeographic.com, Washington.


Visitors to the Map Machine area can not only create their own map, but also overlay topographic, economic or resource information.


"Immediately after the attacks, people were doing maps of Arlington, VA [where the Pentagon is based], New York's lower Manhattan and Afghanistan," Praver said.


Page views peaked at more than 300,000 on Sept. 13. During the weekend of Sept. 15-16, the Map Machine received 250,000 page views each day. The site typically sees slightly lower traffic on weekend days.


Sales of maps through the Web site and toll-free number have almost doubled, though National Geographic would not disclose sales data.


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