eBay looks to advertising in deal with AOL

Auction web site eBay.com has signed a partnership with America Online, which will sell advertising space for the site.

The first banner advertising sold by AOL will appear on eBay's site today and marks eBay's first major attempt to attract ad revenue. Until now, less than 1 percent of the pages on the site carried banners, with only 15 companies advertising and two members of staff handling ad sales.

eBay said that the main source of revenue will continue to be the fees collected from the auction transactions on the site.

However, many analysts believe that advertising could become an important source of revenue for the company. The site is the 15th most-visited site on the web overall, and the second most popular online retail site, according to audience measurement firm Netratings. It is also one of the "stickiest" destinations, with each visitor spending an average of 150 minutes at the site.

eBay will share a percentage of the ad revenue with AOL.