Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Internet's Uniqueness Prompts Interesting Advertising Dilemmas

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Internet's Uniqueness Prompts Interesting Advertising Dilemmas

Article excerpt

LONDON -- Advertisers on the Internet welcome window shoppers, but unless customers open the door for a closer look, some companies don't want to pay for the space.

The world's largest consumer company, Procter & Gamble Corp., for one, wants Internet ad rates based on the number of people who "click" on to, or seek more information from, ads -- and not on the number who merely look at them.

On the other side of the debate, some on-line publishers, including the popular HotWired electronic magazine, or E-zine, reject suggestions that advertising rates be based on anything other than the number of eyes seeing the ad.

"No other media would agree to that arrangement," said Rick Boyce, advertising director of HotWired, the on-line site owned by Wired Ventures Inc.

But then no other media is like the Internet, say industry observers. The global computer network is uniquely capable of tracking how many people respond to an ad by clicking on it for more information from the advertiser's own site on the World Wide Web, the graphics-rich part of the Internet.

"You can't do that with other media," said Michael Crossman, the managing director of advertising company Bates Dorland's Interactive business. Bates is a unit of U.K.-based Cordiant Plc.

International Data Group, a Boston-based publisher and consultancy, said cyberspace will siphon marketing dollars away from newspapers, magazines and television as the number of users increases to more than 200 million worldwide by 2000 from about 100 million today.

Forrester Research, a Cambridge, Mass. market-research company, said 5 percent of all advertising, or $3 billion to $4 billion worth, will be on the Internet by the turn of the century.

Barclays Bank Plc said 40 percent of 1,000 companies it surveyed think the network will be a useful advertising medium for them.

Recent advertisers include Toyota Motor Corp. on SportsZone; European Union Bank, an offshore Swiss bank incorporated in Antigua, on the Electronic Telegraph and Microsoft Corp. on International Data Group's PC Online magazine.

In each case, the advertisements appear as small squares, or boxes, on a computer screen otherwise filled with a "page" of an electronic magazine or newspaper.

Readers using a computer mouse to "click on," or look at, the ad see their computer screen shift to a corporate Web site promoting the product.

Click on the ad for Microsoft's Internet Explorer, for example, and you'll be directly linked to Microsoft Web page that tells viewers how its product will let you "see the movie, hear the music and watch the text fly" when browsing the Internet.

Audio and video are just beginning to be incorporated in Web ads, which remain predominantly text, photos and drawings.

Because Web advertising is in the pioneering stage, little data is available to indicate how effective or ineffective it is, though studies are under way.

More than 100 electronic publications and service providers carry ads. Some low-circulation periodicals are offering discounts in the early days. …

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