In one deal, America Online will help Wal-Mart create a new Internet service provider for towns that are served by Wal-Mart but still lack good local online access. At the same time, Wal-Mart will help sign up new AOL customers, and AOL will send traffic to Wal-Mart's online shopping site.
Kmart, the third biggest retailer in the U.S., also announced a deal with Yahoo to create its own Internet company, BlueLight.com, that will cobble together free Internet access, personalized content and — most importantly — a Kmart shopping site to be ready in six months. Named for Kmart's famous flashing "blue light specials" in store aisles, BlueLight.com is also partnering with Martha Stewart and respected Internet investors such as Yahoo's parent Softbank. MORE >>