DLJdirect has extended a partnership with America Online Inc. that provides exposure to more than 60 million Internet users.

Neither AOL nor DLJdirect, the online brokerage service of Credit Suisse First Boston (USA) Inc., would reveal the length of the extension or how much money is involved.

DLJdirect's financial services will continue to be offered on the personal finance channels of AOL and its Netscape and CompuServe brands. AOL has more than 26 million members, Netscape has more than 32 million registered users, and CompuServe has more than 2.8 million users.

DLJdirect, which is based in Jersey City, is one of three "premier" financial service providers on AOL. Charles Schwab & Co. struck a similar deal with AOL in October, and Citigroup Inc. formed a partnership with AOL in July.

"Premier" partners get wider exposure than other AOL portal partners, which may have only banner ads or the ability to provide content on only one channel.

"Working with America Online, we can bring together both our companies' expertise in online personal finance and offer consumers some of today's most compelling financial services," said Blake Darcy, chief executive officer of DLJdirect, in the Dec. 21 press release announcing the extension.

The brokerage company will change its name on Jan. 15 to CSFBdirect to reflect its new parent company. Credit Suisse bought the Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc. brokerage firm Nov. 3.

Though the price of the AOL extension was not revealed, portal deals are big business.

In July 1998, DLJdirect, E-Trade, Ameritrade, and the Toronto-Dominion Bank affiliate TD Waterhouse Securities reportedly paid AOL $25 million each to be its premier brokers for two years. Citibank quickly followed, forking over $30 million for a multiyear agreement to be the anchor tenant on Netscape's Netcenter.

WingspanBank.com signed a multiyear cobranding agreement with Lycos Inc. last year, and Bank One reportedly paid Excite@Home Inc. as much as $125 million to be the exclusive banking center at the Excite site.

The deals raised eyebrows among some analysts, who said the cost made them difficult to justify as a way to add customers. AOL spokesman David Theis said such partnerships, individually tailored to meet the needs of AOL and the company involved, offer benefits on both sides.

"We've had a relationship with DLJ for a while, and I think that speaks for itself," he said. "When a company wants to continue its relationship with AOL and expand it, both companies obviously see value in that relationship."


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