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Auto Trader Online, The Cobalt Group Sign Ad Pact

Auto Trader Online and The Cobalt Group have signed a joint ad agreement designed to increase consumer traffic to Cobalt's network of dealer Web sites and increasing the pre-owned vehicle selection on Auto Trader Online.

This agreement was preceded by a three-month advertising trial in which select Cobalt dealers experienced a 64 percent increase in referrals from advertising their pre-owned inventory on Auto Trader Online, the companies said.

Under terms of the agreement, Auto Trader Online, with around 600,000 used cars and trucks for sale, enables The Cobalt Group to resell the Auto Trader Online advertising service to its dealer network. The Cobalt Group, which manages 6,500 dealer Web sites, may place the pre-owned vehicles of its dealer clients in the Auto Trader Online database. Each vehicle posted by Cobalt includes a link to the dealer's Web site.

"Both companies are committed to the dealer's success on the Internet, and both recognize the importance of the used vehicle in that equation. The Cobalt Group creates world-class Web sites, and we're pleased to be delivering world-class consumers to them," said Peter Ill, vice president and general manager of Trader Online.

"Teaming up with Auto Trader Online is a natural fit for Cobalt," said Jeffrey Lissack, vice president of business development at The Cobalt Group. "Trader Online is a popular brand name and gets phenomenal traffic, and now our dealers can benefit from it." Financial arrangements were not disclosed.

In the past two months, Cobalt, a developer of dealer Web sites, has released a new version of its own car-buying site, DealerNet, and has begun to distribute all of its dealers' new and pre-owned inventory to Yahoo! Autos.