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Yahoo! Store to Support Commission Junction

E-commerce merchants with storefronts on Yahoo! will now be able to join Commission Junction's affiliate marketing network, through a deal between the two inked Tuesday.

Previously, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo!'s online store operators weren't able to participate in CJ's ad network, which places banners on publishing affiliates. Publishers are compensated with a cost-per-action fee, and CJ gets a cut for serving the ad and acting as a clearinghouse for publisher-merchant transactions.

The deal is a big win for Commission Junction, which has been aiming to boost income. The affiliate marketer recently changed several of its pricing policies and abandoned the pay-per-click model in a bid to reach profitability by the end of the year.

For one thing, the firm last month started charging marketers more for its service, raising the previous 20 percent fee to 30 percent, with a minimum of $0.30 per lead or sale. In late January, Commission Junction increased its network access fee -- a one-time fee charged to advertisers to use the service -- to $1,295, a 60 percent increase.

Those changes were aimed at increasing revenue per advertiser by eliminating all but the largest spenders -- saving costs associated with infrastructure and low-paying CPC advertisers.

Now, by offering an affiliate program to Yahoo!'s approximately 13,200 merchants, Commission Junction is again looking to boost income, this time by increasing the number of its potential marketing clients. And with its earlier limits in place, it's aiming to bring in only high-paying advertisers.

"We are pleased to be working with Yahoo! to bring Commission Junction's pay-for-performance ad network to Yahoo! Store merchants," said Lex Sisney, who is chief executive and co-founder at Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Commission Junction. "Our marketing services will enable Yahoo! Store merchants to increase the reach, effectiveness and accountability of their online advertising."

Yahoo!, meanwhile, describes the offering as a way to help merchants better their marketing efforts. That's key to the company's new vision, as outlined by newly minted chief executive officer and chairman Terry Semel, who routinely says he sees a large chunk of Yahoo!'s future revenue coming from fees -- like those charged to merchants to set up online stores.

"Commission Junction's online advertising services add yet another powerful tool to the extensive suite of offerings provided by Yahoo! Store to enable merchants to build successful businesses online," said Sara Hicks, a producer at Yahoo! Store. "Our agreement with Commission Junction supports our goal of offering innovative, sophisticated marketing solutions to enable our store merchants to acquire new customers and grow sales."