eBay and Kinko’s Link Up

In a move that could raise the awareness of eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) among college students, the online auction house and Kinko’s, a leading provider of document-copying services, announced a joint marketing deal on Wednesday.

“We share similar operating philosophies of around-the-clock personalized customer service and innovation in meeting customer needs,” said Ellen Turner, chief marketing officer for Kinko’s, which operates copy centers that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Under the terms of the deal, links to Kinko’s home page will be featured on eBay in the computer, business/office and big ticket categories, while eBay will receive offline advertising in Kinko’s more than 900 copy centers across the country. In addition, eBay site visitors will receive 15 minutes of free computer-rental time at participating Kinko’s branches.

Kinko’s centers are popular on college campuses, partially because they never close. College students will probably be more prone to taking advantage of a free offer. Kinko’s normally charges for computer time by the minute. The free time could actually lead to revenue for Kinko’s because its copy centers charge for printouts, floppy disks and other computer supplies.

Various Resources for eBay Users

While some Kinko’s customers will probably log on to eBay just to get a few minutes of free computer time to read the news or check their e-mail, Kinko’s also has a slew of resources that are useful for serious eBay users.

For example, eBay users can scan and post photos of items they are selling, exchange e-mail using America Online or Web-based mail services, fax documents and use Kinko’s for shipping services, including overnight delivery via FedEx or UPS. This could be Kinko’s first major step toward establishing itself as a one-stop location for e-commerce transactions.

“The agreement was established because of the highly complementary services of the two brand leaders,” said Steve Westly, vice president of marketing and business development for eBay. “We are excited about this and believe it is mutually beneficial to Kinko’s, eBay and, most importantly, our customers.”

Stock Impact

Shares of eBay climbed 5-9/16 to 186 13/16 on Wednesday after the news, as the Internet sector continued to fight a recent downward trend. Legg Mason initiated coverage of eBay Thursday with a buy rating.

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