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Shatner Renews Deal with Priceline.com

William Shatner, whose celebrity endorsement of priceline.com is credited with sparking a trend in the dot-com world, has renewed his agreement to be the public face of the name-your-price company.

The two-year deal includes a broadening of Shatner's spokesperson role, in which he'll appear in television commercials. Until now, the actor, most famous for his role as Captain Kirk in Star Trek, has done radio and print ads for priceline.com. He has appeared recently in television commercials for newly-launched grocery services, run by priceline.com spin-off WebHouseClub.com.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

"William Shatner has played an important role in catapulting priceline.com to national prominence and he will continue to contribute significantly as we build out our brand," says Daniel Schulman, priceline.com's president and COO.

"Bill Shatner's recognition and appeal span generations and geography. His association with futuristic things makes him well-qualified to talk about how priceline.com is reinventing the way people can save money by naming their own price for goods and services."

Priceline.com attributes much of its growth and brand recognition to the association with Shatner. The company says that it was selling just over 1,500 leisure airline tickets per week in May of 1998.

Today, the service sells over 50,000 tickets a week, accounting for approximately two percent of all the leisure airline tickets sold in the US.

The success of the Shatner-priceline.com alliance has inspired a wave of followers. Whoopi Goldberg now hawks Flooz.com, and Rodney Dangerfield represents BargainBid.com. Former "Six Million Dollar Man" Lee Majors promotes Kozmo.com.

"Two years ago, conventional wisdom was not in favor of celebrity endorsements for Internet products," says Priceline.com's founder and vice chairman, Jay Walker.

"Internet companies were supposed to focus their advertising online through banner ads and portal deals. Priceline.com believed that the right star power concentrated in more traditional radio and print advertising would effectively reach both Netizens and non-Internet users alike."