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Re: AM: The next Advertising on the Internet meeting

To:     Ross Stapleton-Gray <>
Subject:     Re: AM: The next Advertising on the Internet meeting
From:     Jim Harmon <>
Date:     Sun, 31 May 1998 17:41:48 -0400
Organization:     The Telephone Connection
References:     <>

Ross Stapleton-Gray wrote:
> At 12:45 PM 5/31/98 -0400, you wrote:
> >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.
> >...
> A pretty heady rant, but I don't think either extreme--"death, taxes 
> and full-screen ads" (which is a great turn of phrase...), or an 
> icon-only pastoral Info Parkway--are likely to be the evolutionary end 
> point.

You can pack a great deal of visual information in a 1cm x 1cm box, and
if you can put 100 of them on a page without slowing down the page, your
users won't object.

Before Guttenberg's moveable type press all advertising was word of
mouth and -iconic-.

Iconic advertising is tremendously powerful, and since the icon can be
linked to -any- product offered by the company trying to sell on the
net, and since only INTERESTED individuals would actually follow such
links, the problem of identifying the market is taken care of. 

Statistics such as "click-through" that so many banner-sites exploit for
cash from their advertisers would be much more accurate.

(I've experienced situations where a Banner links to a page of banners,
which link to pages of banners which link to pages of banners without
-any- of the promised content.)

What's the #1 complaint at banner-intensive services like AOL?

Too many ads, not enough content.

What was the #1 reason for the original Prodigy Service closing?  Too
many ads taking too much bandwidth to justify the cost when other
WWW-based services became available.

What was the #1 reason COMPUSERVE survived the introduction of the WWW? 
NO ads forced on anyone.  

What's the #1 Complaint at Compuserve now that they're entirely GUI
based?  Too many ads.

> There's a point to all of those full-page ads in magazines, and 
> they're helping to sell soap, even if they're not being sought out, or 
> much appreciated.

The prime reason for those ads is that the public would not be willing
to pay the subscription price of the magazine if they had to bear the
total cost of publication.

A 30.00 subscription to a magazine is a pitance of the cost in terms of
materials, salaries, machinery, transportation, royalties for content,

Ultimately, without commercial advertising, magazines would be nothing
more than market-specific newspapers.

The side-effect of targetted ads in specific magazines is that the
majority of subscribers are -prequalified- as interested in what those
advertisers have to sell.

You don't see too many "soap" ads in "Rifles and Handguns" Magazine.
Unless it's a detergent for removing chordite (sp?) from fabrics and

>  And we're all aware of a lot of companies and their 
> services even if we've never visited their home page... the power of 
> banner ads to grind a brand into the readers' brains can't be 
> overlooked.

True, but at a *great* cost.  For every individual that was ever
irritated by a banner, there are 300 users who've heard about that
irritation.  And an untold number of non-users who've heard about it
from those users.

There is far more power to subtle advertising than to ram-it-home-
at-all-cost advertising.  

Imagine pages where the entire border of the page is made-up of little
Pepsi-Cola caps.  Any one of which is a link to Pepsi's homepage or
current special-interest ad campaign.  Or EVEN a 30-second

Or pages with divider lines that repeat the symbol for Nike, where the
content is running or jumping or some other sports/shoe-related content.

Subtley -is- a better answer, and -simplicity- is faster loading than
complicated -if however well designed- banners could ever be.

The point is REPETITION is how you remember something, but REPETITION
tastefully and gently is far more persuasive.

> If you were asked by a friend, "where can I get a free Web site?," 
> might you suggest Tripod?  I've never visited Tripod (now owned by 
> Lycos, which I don't much use either), but I do know that it's one of 
> those services that give customers free Web pages.  That thought's in 
> my head, and it got there somehow...
> Ross

And I would suggest strongly that it's one you know because the topic of
"free Web sites" was a personal area of interest for you, and while
doing your reseach in that area you were -voluntarily- and repeatedly
exposed to Tripod's ads.

The key concept here is that Tripod didn't withhold access to otherwise
accessible content while they forcefed you their offers for "Free Web

By the way, in the last 5 years, I've never been aware (nor cared) that
Tripod/Lycos provided free Web sites.  If they had ever withheld access
to other content for even -5- seconds, let alone 30, to forcefeed me
their "Free Web site" ads, you can bet I'd *never* access their site(s)

And I'm not atypical.


> _____________________________________________________________________
> Ross Stapleton-Gray                     TeleDiplomacy, Inc.
>                    2503 Columbia Pike, Suite 118
>                                         Arlington VA 22204
>   +1 703 685-5197 / 5257 fax

   Jim Harmon                           The Telephone Connection                          Rockville, Maryland

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