Sports-Card Trader ThePit Gets Lift From Yahoo Auctions Deal

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Looking to generate Web traffic and add a credible name to its business plan, ThePit.com, a market maker for high-end sports cards, partnered with Yahoo Inc. to feature its sports-card stock market on Yahoo Auctions.


Under terms of the one-year agreement, ThePit, White Plains, NY, will showcase its stock market report on Yahoo Auctions' sports and memorabilia section, ThePit said. The market report, which is updated every 20 minutes and shows the day's top gainers and losers in the card market, also features a link that drives users to a co-branded Web page.


Once there, visitors can register and use ThePit's trading services. Traders can buy and sell from each other or from ThePit, which claims to have an inventory of $2 million worth of sports cards.


ThePit receives a commission on trades, while Yahoo receives a portion of trades if users who come from the quote board execute a trade within 24 hours, ThePit said. The minimum commission on trades is about $1.


"Rather than just buying generic banner advertising," said Brian Benczkowski, associate general counsel and senior vice president of business development, "we've got this box [on Yahoo Auctions] that is essentially advertising but also content at the same time.


"And it's news that's packaged in the form of a marketing campaign or an advertisement," he added.


Yahoo, Santa Clara, CA, was not available for comment.


Meanwhile, Benczkowski said that since ThePit's launch in October, trades on the site have nearly doubled each month, from the $600,000 worth of cards sold in November to the projected $2 million in January.


The increase in trades is due in part to ThePit's targeted marketing strategies, Benczkowski said. The company, which targets card dealers and the collector community, struck a two-year deal with Beckett Inc., a publisher of monthly collectibles magazines, soon after it launched.


The deal allows ThePit to advertise in Beckett's four offline newsletters, which have a circulation of about 600,000, Benczkowski said.


ThePit also has an agreement with Beckett.com, the online division of Beckett, in which ThePit's sports-card market ticker runs on the bottom of Beckett's Web site. And similar to the Yahoo partnership, ThePit is able to place a link on the ticker to drive traffic to its site.


Beckett, Dallas, also receives a commission on trades generated from its site, Benczkowski said.


"Every eyeball that goes on that site sees our ticker, and every person is a sports-card person," Benczkowski said. "We were able to target very specifically the collectors and the dealers by doing this deal with Beckett."


And in another move to brand the company and generate Web traffic, ThePit ran 59 60-second radio spots on WFAN, a sports radio station based in New York, Benczkowski said. The spots ran for about a month, he said, and brought in 7 percent of the company's 10,000 account holders.
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