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Marc benjamin wants Internet car shoppers to know is literally at your service. made a name for itself with big-budget, profile-building campaigns on the 1997 and 1998 Super Bowls. Now, it's ready to move on, as Mr. Benjamin and company aim to also make the brand synonymous with automotive service.

"We are in a rapid transition into becoming not just a leading car-buying site, but the leading e-commerce provider for all phases of the automotive buying cycle," said Mr. Benjamin, who joined the company in July as chief marketing officer. That shift comes as realizes what old-school auto dealers have long known: the real money is in the service department.


"Service is one thing that is of particular value because it runs through the entire life cycle, from the time you buy a vehicle to the time you sell," said Mr. Benjamin.

Bulking up its service capabilities, bought the publisher of the Chilton auto-repair manuals, W.G. Nichols, in July. Mr. Benjamin said Chilton data is being integrated into the site to enhance online auto-maintenance services.

That was followed by a deal to upgrade's online banking center in partnership with online lender Lending Tree, and CMSI, an online credit automation center. already offers maintenance, insurance and auto-financing links, but will enhance them to draw customers who aren't shopping for cars, said Mr. Benjamin, 36, who came to from VP-marketing at Multiple Zones International, Renton, Wash., a direct marketer of computer products.

Service capabilities "broaden our target audience substantially because only a small portion of the audience is in the market to buy a car. It's something that happens only once every several years."


When consumers register their auto model and year in the site's "Your Garage" section, can notify them by e-mail when routine service is needed. With the Chilton data, it can also give them standard parts prices and labor estimates, allowing them to shop more effectively for repairs.

In maintenance, insurance and financing, follows the model it established with car shopping, offering quotes from a number of registered businesses.

But Mr. Benjamin said auto sales will remain central to's advertising.

"To bring these things into the buying process is a great advantage," he said. "It doesn't necessarily require three campaigns." is currently in the midst of a six-month, $15 million TV campaign from Grey Advertising, New York. Employing one 30-second spot, it emphasizes what Mr. Benjamin calls's core appeal: Hassle-free auto-shopping via the Web.

Although traditional media remains a big part of its budget, Mr. Benjamin noted that the Internet can no longer be considered an alternative medium. J.D. Power & Associates recently reported 40% of auto shoppers this year will use the Net.

"That number in itself speaks to the fact that our business is a mainstream

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