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Re: AM: The next Advertising on the Internet meeting

To:     BilodeauA@aol.com
Subject:     Re: AM: The next Advertising on the Internet meeting
From:     Jim Harmon <jharmon@telecnnct.com>
Date:     Sun, 31 May 1998 12:45:14 -0400
CC:     ad-market@netpreneur.org
Organization:     The Telephone Connection
References:     <1198e66a.35701a58@aol.com>

BilodeauA@aol.com wrote:
> 
> Hi folks,
> 
> I'll pass this on without comment.  What do you think of the concept?
> 
> - Anne Zieger

Thankyou for posting this, Anne.

While I want to remain objective, I would like to take the approach of
Devil's Advocate.  Inline below I'm going to take the position of
internet USERS, rather than internet ADVERTISERS.

>  *****************
>  Press Bulletin
>  *****************
> 
>  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
>  see also:
> >http://www.icimpact.com
> 
> 
>  Major Fast-food Chain To Premiere Full-screen Internet Ads
> 
>   At one time or another, web surfers have probably noticed the 
> absence of national brand advertising on the Internet. 

Most Internet Users actualy prefer this.  The last commentary I posted
mentioned "Noise".  The banner click-through widgets are largely ignored
because they are so common.

In fact, many of the "Brand Name" ads in magazines are ignored.  Unless
the reader is actually looking for the product the ad is displaying. 
Magazine ads are printed background noise.

TV Commercials are ignored if not engrossing, entertaining, or
titilating.  Unless you're in the business, and then you're studying
them for ideas of your own.

The target audience identifies itself by choosing to "tune in" to the ad
for the most part.  By selectively deciding what is noise and what
isn't.

> The answer to 
> their curiosity can be traced to the limitations of current space 
> availability on the Internet, the small banner ads.  

This is really not true.  "Full page" advertising on the internet/ WWW
is and has been available to *all* users and companies on the net.

It's called the "Home Page" Web site.  *EVERY* entity with the ability
to post a Web Page is in-effect "full-page advertising" something. 
Whether it's content is entertaining, informative, or whatever.

> "This type of 
> advertising, the narrow banner ads and the click-through methodology 
> common to them, is not appealing to major brand advertisers, " 

This is obviously due to the fact so many are ignored entirely.

BACKGROUND NOISE.  The big guys don't seem to understand this concept. 
They seem to feel that interactivity of the Web should magically force
everyone to "click-through" on *their* ads.

It *won't* and *can't* happen that way.  This mode of thinking killed
"Prodigy", Sear's and IBM's really remarkable proprietary network that
predated the WWW by several years.

Although they're attempting to revive it now with a Web based version of
"Prodigy", their concept is still "Banner everything".  

They're finding tremendous lack of enthusiasm for new subscribers for
this reason, pretty much entirely.

> commented Tom Amon, CEO of IC Systems in Santa Ana, Calif.
> 
>   But new technology has changed the face of Internet advertising 
> forever. A newly developed advertising technique, the IC (for Internet 
> Commercial) Systems method, results in full-screen, broadcast-style 
> advertisements on the Internet.

I don't understand what they mean by "new technique".

The only element of interactive advertising at full-screen size that has
really hindered the attempts to do so is user modem speed.

The real obstacle to fully interactive full-page advertising on the Web
has been the fact the average user had a modem incapable of sustaining
even somewhat reasonable transfer speeds until the last 2 years, where
28.8, 56K, and ISDN technology became cost-effective for end-users.

> The first to premiere the ads is a 
> national fast-food chain whose advertising message will be delivered 
> to a full universe of customers.  "The largest aggregate audience is 
> on the Internet, " stated Curt Hutten, President of IC Systems.  "Lack 
> of a broadcast-style medium on the Internet has denied the majors an 
> opportunity to market to millions of viewers, users on the 'Net. Until 
> now. "

I believe this is patently wrong.  Every "Major Player" has a Web
Homepage.  Every one gets thousands of hits/day.  

"Broadcasting" on the Web to unsolicited recipients is "SPAM".

"Broadcasting" to unsolicited recipients will be met with far more
resistance from the internet user community than IC Systems seems to
realize.  At the cost of alienating potential customers -AND- existing
customers.

The anti-SPAM mindset of Internet Users is unlike the complacent viewing
of television, radio, newspaper, and magazine advertising in nearly
every concievable way, but primarily in the fact that the USER bears
*all* the cost of providing the advertiser his medium on the Internet.

I know it's an increadibly inviting concept to advertisers that they may
be able to stop paying the NFL $10 Million for a 30-second ad in the
Superbowl, because there are more people using the internet daily than
have watched the last 5 Bowlgames, and they OWN the display equipment
and pay for all the incidental costs of making the connection.

But they keep missing the clue that with over 50 Million users on the
internet, most of them are WORKING.  They don't have the TIME to wade
through/clickthrough ads when they've got deadlines to meet.

They WON'T have the time or patience for "Full Page" Ads that appear
infront of their content requests.

If they did, than all the "Major Player" homepages would be innundated
with millions upon millions of hits a DAY.

They aren't.

>   The restrictions imposed by banner ads-and a knowledge of the 
> advertising industry and its trends-prompted IC Systems to develop a 
> modern, innovative method. IC perfected an ingenious, patent-pending 
> technique to achieve full-screen television-style advertisements that 
> are sought by leading marketers of soft drinks, fast-food restaurants, 
> national department stores, mass merchandiser chains and other 
> principal institutional-type advertisers.

>From the USER point of view, this is a fatal mistake on the part of the
advertisers.

Advertisers should be seeking subliminalization, ICON recognition.

In fact, from the perspective of a user, I would prefer to have an
iconbar at the bottom of a page with 10-15 brand-logos, and NO text. 
Even more than banners, this would clearly display for the advertisers
what is "selling" on the internet, and it wastes NONE of the time of the
professional browser.

And the cost of creating the icons (with links to the advertiser's
homepage(s) of course) is almost nothing.

The cost to the browser is nothing, (in terms of resources) if the icons
are small.  In fact, they should be uniformly square, with the same
vertical dimension as the "Viewed best with Netscape" buttons all over
the internet.

>    "The Internet can now cater to and accommodate the 60 percent of
> advertisers in most print and electronic mediums, " Amon said, noting 
> that the majors have all but ignored Internet advertising due to the 
> limitations of banner ads.

If this is what Amon thinks, he's wrong.  Traditional advertisers steer
away from the internet because they see all the thousands of stories of
how much money is being poured into internet advertising, with no clear
effect being demonstrated to sales.

In fact, I've heard it said that IBM has spent hundreds of millions of
dollars on their internet advertising campaign, and are losing sales.

This isn't a cause/effect situation necessarily, but there should be at
least a slight increase in sales if you spend millions of dollars on
ads.

>    "A few minutes of television viewing or a quick thumb-through of a 
> magazine tells it all, " Amon commented. 

Clearly viewed from the presenter's perspective, not the viewer's.

The assumptions being made are clearly wrong, because the *SAME*
argument was used to sell *Internet Banners* in the first place.

Amon is -reinventing the Dead Horse-!

> "Savvy marketers seek 
> mediums that focus on brand-identity, institutional-style ads that 
> yield a lasting reminder of a product name or feature. That's what 
> sells products and encourages customers to ask for specific brand 
> names, " he stated.

I might agree in part, but the conclusion still bothers me something
fierce.

I think minimizing the clutter and background noise (simple icons can
appear everywhere, even thousands of times in a browsing session without
slowing the browser or interfereing with thier daily WORK activity, and
can provide REAL click-through statistics by only capturing real clicks
to homepages) is the answer.

>   Explaining the many benefits of the IC Systems advertising 
> methodology, Amon said that, for starters, IC ads offer the lowest 
> possible CPM available, the full universe of customers who are known 
> to maintain product allegiance. He said a user can't bypass the 
> full-screen ad because of IC Systems' unique commercial firewall 
> protection, and that no special programming is required to existing 
> content.

This is a sure-fire invitation for high-level hackers/crackers to break
Amon's systems.  "FORCED" full-page ads will seriously alienate
consumers.

>   He explained that the IC ad technique is revolutionary in concept.  
> "The unique system substantially controls the viewing process when a 
> viewer links to an IC-controlled site. Before selected content can be 
> accessed, a commercial message is displayed in a full-screen format. 
> After the full commercial message has been executed, the user's 
> intended content appears on -screen. "

Professional Web Users will be very upset by this methodology. 
Especially if working from home via 28.8 or slower technology.

This concept was attempted unsuccessfully in or around 1994, and the
sites that utilized this technique *lost all traffic* rapidly.  I wish I
could recall the details and the vendors who attempted doing so.  But
the result was that the userbase was enraged by the presumption that the
provider was in complete control of thier content.

So the userbase switched to AOL or other providers.  (Although there
isn't much difference overall in the concept AOL provides, at least they
allow more user-control of advertising space.)

>   IC Systems satisfies a demand among major advertisers for a medium 
> that will effectively and efficiently achieve brand imaging, one that 
> will offer a low CPM.  "We'll attract the largest aggregate audience 
> possible, " Amon said.

I sincerely beleive the correct verb is "alienate", as in "We'll
alienate the largest aggregate audience possible".

>  "At long last a modern Internet advertising 
> model is available to large companies that prefer institutional style 
> ads to enhance brand image, an ongoing challenge.

But the result may be that they actively REDUCE consumer base through
the anger and resistence of the userbase.

Amon is essentially saying there are actually (3) things you can't avoid
in life.  The first (2) being death and taxes, the third being
"Full-page advertising".

This mindset will cause a serious responce from hard-core internet
users.  And not a seriously GOOD one.

>    "In today's advertising industry, about 60 percent of advertising 
> is placed by major companies, such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Taco 
> Bell, McDonald's, Sears and countless others. With the IC Systems 
> full-screen, broadcast-style ads, the Internet as a medium is on a par 
> with television and print ads. " In fact, Amon explained, advertisers 
> now have the ability to coordinate ad campaigns between television and 
> the Internet or vice versa.

The fatal flaw in this thinking is that broadcast and cable TV viewers
do not directly observe the cost to themselves of advertising on those
media, but the users of the INTERNET are VITALLY aware of their cost in
time and productivity.

You also hit a serious barrier to CORPORATE PRODUCTIVITY.  As 60% or
more of all internet users are ON THE JOB, ANY action that slows down
their ability to access content they need is seen by corporate
management as wasted expense.

Why are so many companies now employing armies of anti-spam specialists?
Why are they taking more and more SPAM providers to court?

Because SPAM wastes CORPORATE time and resources.

FORCE-FEEDING full-page advertising might very-well become the bane of
these same major corporations Amon claims he's helping.

The repercussions of forcing ANY content upon the users of the internet
are far broader than just making a product visible.

>  For additional editorial materials including graphic materials 
>  contact :  IC Systems, Inc.  phone:  714/542-0558  fax: 714/542-0432   
> - http://www.icimpact.com

-- 
   Jim Harmon                           The Telephone Connection
jim@telecnnct.com                          Rockville, Maryland

Replies
Re: AM: The next Advertising on the Internet meeting, Daniel B. Nickell

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