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Online Advertising Articles
(January 2002)

Web Ads Get Creepy (and Crawly) (MSNBC, January 31st)
Less than a year ago, the first high-profile 'takeover' ad - one used to promote Ford's Explorer brand - ran on the front page of the Yahoo! web portal. Since then, all manner of sites have tested similar creatives, in addition to several other aggressive ad types, in an effort to reduce the biting effects of the ad recession. This MSNBC article outlines a few of the biggest and most unique campaigns to grace the web of late.

Privacy Groups Create E-Mail Seal Program (internet.com, January 31st)
As net users find themselves increasingly assaulted by unsolicited commercial messages and viruses sent through email, legitimate email publications and other opt-in commercial communications are under threat of being ignored consumers. In response to this, privacy groups TRUSTe and the ePrivacy Group are uniting with email marketers in the creation of a 'Trusted Sender' program that hopes to differentiate legitimate mailings from their often deceptive and damaging spam counterparts. This USA Today article additionally highlights the FTC's determination to crack down on fraudulent spam mailings.

Advertising Effectively Online (eMarketer, January 31st)
After questioning 145 US-based advertisers, researchers I/PRO found that 39% consider e-advertising to be 'moderately' effective in reaching their target market(s) and 31% think it is 'somewhat' effective. A disappointingly low 21% thought the medium 'very' effective in assisting marketers to reach their audience, suggesting that there remains a great deal of room for improvement in the industry. The study also identified the leading reasons accounting for why those advertisers who have yet to embrace the web have avoided the medium thus far. Building further upon this, an internet.com article has drawn some additional details from the report, noting that effective and consistent measurement is the element most desired by would-be online advertisers, with increasingly reliable targeting coming in as a close second.

24/7 Real Media Sells Broadband Unit (internet.com, January 31st)
Furthering its commitment to focus exclusively on its core media assets, 24/7 Real Media has sold its broadband and professional services unit to the group's management. The unit has been on the table for some time, but was once considered the company's best long-term growth prospect. 24/7 Real will maintain a 20% stake in the spun-off unit.

Evaluating Your Email Marketing Campaign (ClickZ, January 31st)
This article hiighlights a few points to consider when designing and refining your email marketing plan.

When Good Service Goes Bad (ClickZ, January 31st)
If you think big, successful online media properties got that way because they offer great customer service, think again.

Consumers Accept, Welcome Mobile Marketing (internet.com, January 30th)
Although funded by a party that clearly has a vested interest in its results, a recent study commissioned by Nokia so overwelmingly suggests that mobile phone users are willing to accept coupon-style promotions on their cell phones that little doubt clouds the results.

Sony, Dentsu Form Broadband Media, Advertising Firm (internet.com, January 30th)
Seeking a first-mover advantage in the burgeoning broadband media space, electronics giant Sony has united with the world's biggest advertising agency to form an interactive shop that will service not only Sony's own properties, but act as a marketing services provider for external clients. The firm will focus on develop products for both interactive TV and the broadband internet.

AOL-TW Losses Up in Tough Ad Year (internet.com, January 30th)
Once a shining beacon of the online advertising market, maintaining not only the leadership position in terms of online media sales but existing as one of the medium's biggest buyers and most dramatic growth prospects, AOL's gloomy earnings report doesn't bode well for some of the larger players in this market. The group as a whole encountered a 14% year-over-year loss in advertising and commerce revenues, and sees little room for growth throughout 2002.

Pepsi and M&M's Launch Web Polls (internet.com, January 29th)
High profile efforts - involving Britney Spears and the Super Bowl on one hand, and a 78-country advertising campaign on another - aim to foster greater interaction between brands and consumers. The campaigns, which involve not only web polls but other online advertising elements (including a streaming-media creative placed on Yahoo!'s index page) indicate a continuatation of the growing interest in online media from traditional buyers.

I-Marketing Alive and Kicking in 2002 (E-Commerce Times, January 28th)
This fabulous article from E-Commerce Times documents a number of success stories in online marketing, and what their experiences - coupled with a general industry shakeout - suggest about the near-term future of the market.

Unicast Rolls Out New Format (internet.com, January 28th)
Rich-media ad platform developer Unicast has boosted its product line with the roll out of a 300k addition to its Superstitial line. The new format presents creatives with far greater room to move, since the first Superstitial was limited to a 100k file size for optimum delivery efficiency.

Survey: Multi-Channel Buyers Worth Pursuing (internet.com, January 28th)
A DoubleClick study finds that consumers are likely to spend more if they use the Web in conjunction with buying in offline stores.

Offline Giants Eat Up Web Ad Space (MSNBC, January 25th)
Spearheaded by traditional consumer giants such as Wendy's and Frito-Lays, a number of brand-based offline advertisers are increasingly moving significant portions of their marketing budgets online, in a move that could indicate that the long-awaited recovery in net ad spending is nigh.

MAPS Again At Odds with E-Mail Firms (internet.com, January 25th)
The release of a new anti-spam database, coupled with continued disagreement over the definition of "permission", could spell more messy fights with major players in online direct marketing.

FindWhat.com Takes On Rival's Search Patent (internet.com, January 24th)
In a challenge that involves the two largest players in the pay-for-performance search field, FindWhat.com is heading to federal court to protest Overture's patent on search engine technology. The conflict comes after negotiations over royalties broke down, with FindWhat claiming that Overture's demands were excessively oppressive. FindWhat's central argument in the case will be the claim that Overture supplied the US Patent and Trademark Office with false and misleading data that resulted in the invalid granting of a patent concerning the delivery of search engine results whose ranking is determined according to the price bid by websites wishing to be listed under a particular keyword. With the pay-for-placement search element increasingly gaining traction as a large portion of the online marketing mix, this will certainly be a case to watch...

More Good News From Web Ad Firms (internet.com, January 24th)
Not long after Overture, DoubleClick, Findwhat and e-commerce giant Amazon.com announced profitability, a number of other pure-play web firms have either trumpeted their profitability or significantly beaten earnings estimates. Amongst these are the three online ad players noted in this article; those being publisher eUniverse, interactive agency Digitas and e-mail shop Digital Impact. ClickZ' Pamela Parker re-inforces this sentiment with examples of a few more success stories here

A Lesson In Making Learning Fun (ClickZ, January 24th)
Of all audiences, there is one that is stands out as the most challenging to compel, and all parents know exactly what group that is...children! Now, before you send that hate mail my way thinking that I'm advocating marketing to the lil' uns, the tool to which this article and myself are referring can be used to entice responses from a diverse range of respondents, and the argument made by the article (which presents a case study of the incredible response rates and viral success of an educational email game circulated by The History Channel) is that if children's attention can be held via this tool, then other audiences may be equally enticed into interaction. In short, the technique at task is 'advergaming', whereby marketing messages are delivered via an immersive and entertaining game. This issue has been discussed here previously, and the resilience of the tool proves that the market for advergames is showing no sign of abating.

Unicast Eyes Rivals For Patent Infringement (internet.com, January 23rd)
Coming as little surprise after Unicast trumpeted its receipt of two key patents governing the delivery of rich-media interstitials, the company has initiated legal proceedings and/or negotiations with a number of its largest competitors. Eyeblaster, Bluestreak, Enliven and VIPcast have all been handed "cease and desist" letters from the rich media ad firm, and more are said to follow. In fact, Unicast's spokesperson inferred in her statement regarding the development that the company may extend these and other patents in such a fashion as to grant Unicast a dominant role in the emerging interactive television space.

E-Advertising Will Grow Despite General Ad Flatline (eMarketer, January 22nd)
Although the sector is believed to have experienced its first decline in year-over-year spending through 2001, GartnerG2 estimates that the market for e-advertising will more than double by 2005. The most impressive aspect of this finding is the widely-held belief that the same period will account for relatively flat spending across traditional media. The equally-optimistic findings of yet another research firm, CMR, are illustrated here.

Putting Web Traffic Analysis On The Map (internet.com, January 22nd)
Geotargeting has long been a rather approximate method of restricting the viewership of one's online ad or personalized content as a result of the innacuracies that can arise through IP tracking. One firm, Quova, has established itself as a clear leader in the provision of accurate geo-data, however, and has recently announced that it will allow its GeoPoint technology to be incorporated into Jupiter Media Metrix' audience measurement systems. This will provide the group's member publishers and online marketers with an increasingly accurate view of their audience constituents.

SMS Up Close: Subtler Branding for Tougher Times (WirelessAdWatch, January 22nd)
Although text messaging-based mobile advertising floundered in 2001 amidst much hype, a clearer picture has since emerged of the significance of SMS. This article examines the future of the popular, and decidedly intimate, short messaging service and questions to what degree this future will involve marketing.

Zedo Offers Free Delivery of Unsold Inventory (NET-ADS, January 20th)
ZEDO, Inc., a leading third-generation ad serving company, announced earlier this week that they would deliver 'unsold' ads for their publishers at no charge. This includes the complimentary delivery of unproductive remnant inventory, unsold house and default ads run by the publisher. The move comes just weeks after major tech players DoubleClick and 24/7 Real Media announced that they would follow L90's lead and charge publishers a nominal fee for the delivery of their default inventory.

Left- Versus Right-Brain Marketing (ClickZ, January 18th)
Rebecca Lieb looks at the psychological conflicts that can arise when creative and analytical minds are forced to interact on a single project (as is commonplace in this industry).

Building Relationships for Better Buying (ClickZ, January 17th)
One of the key virtues bantered about the international network and the 'new economy' in the heady days of the boom was the promise of a gradual eradication of middle-man inefficiencies and a subsequent streamlining of relationships. In some sectors, this has come to pass, with wholesale goods available in retail quantities direct from manufacturers, and with entertainment outlets looking to peddle their wares in digital format direct to consumers. B2B relationships, too, have seen a few links in the exchange chain unhooked; bringing cost savings to those at the chain's extremities. In the advertising market, though, the bulk of advertising dollars continue to flow through several tiers, due in part to the ease of outsourcing media buying through an interactive agency, in part because of technological inconsistencies and in part as a result of good ol' interpersonal relationships. The following article focuses on this latter factor, claiming that in the online ad space, it's not a matter of what you know, but who you know, with media buyers often electing to offer premium rates to agencies in the expectation of receiving quality service for their buck. The article also highlights some situations in which a similarly intimate relationship formed directly with a publisher may not only provide cost-savings to an advertiser, but ensure that the buy receives premium placement and active optimization.

DoubleClick Debuts Direct Unit (internet.com, January 16th)
DoubleClick's Global Media division has long focused on the brand-buy market, delivering advertiser's banners and email pitches through its substantial network of represented sites on a CPM basis. With the state of the economy contracting the appeal of long-term branding goals, though, the ad leader has established a Direct unit to serve its clients' direct marketing needs. The new group is composed of a 10-person team, and headed by DoubleClick veteran Bill Wise. Direct will manage banner and email inventory, as well as handle email list rentals. Unusally, though, it appears that most of the transactions brokered by the unit will still take place on a CPM basis, rather than according to increasingly rigid performance metrics.

Study: I-Shops Need Better Marketing (internet.com, January 16th)
Interactive media buying agencies had better re-evaluate their revenue models, contract arrangements and marketing strategies if they are to survive through the ad shakeout, Jupiter Media Metrix has suggested. Advertisers have reportredly been reluctant to commission the services of I-Shops, in part due to the expenses and limitations involved in locking one's self into a medium-term retainer-based contract, with over a third of the advertisers surveyed expressing that they would prefer to pay on a per-job basis.

IAB Unveils Ad Impression Guidelines (internet.com, January 15th)
The Interactive Advertising Bureau has made good on a years-old promise to deliver standards for measuring and auditing ad impressions and unique users. The guidelines address such enduring issues as impression counting, robot screening, click-thru counting and reporting. It failed, however, to address the standardization of reach and frequency metrics, which are increasingly sought-after by traditional agencies. A follow-up article by internet.com delves further into the apprehensions that some have towards the standards, as a result of them still leaving room foor discrepancy. Nevertheless, the overall sense is that the guidelines certainly are a step forward for an industry long-plagued by inconsistencies.

DoubleClick Blows Street Away (internet.com, January 15th)
Online advertising powerhouse DoubleClick has topped Wall Street estimates and its own guidance, with a fourth-quarter improvement in net losses and revenues. The firm has ben using the announcement to also claim that it's endured its first profitable quarter - though its justification of this are of the fuzzy 'pro-forma' type, with a net loss of $103.5 million posted for the quarter once abnormals and other charges are included in the total.

Interview: Rapid Eyeblaster Movement (eMarketer, January 15th)
eMarketer interrogates rich-media tech firm Eyeblaster's Executive Vice President Joe Apprendi regarding his perception's for th company's future.

Arnold Cozies Up to Yahoo! with Upfront Deal (internet.com, January 14th)
Building upon the trends set by a number of web publishers lately who have made a bid to attract the attention of traditional advertisers by adhering to the audience-meaurement standards long adopted by traditional media, the upfront-purchase agreement between Yahoo! and Havas' Arnold media buying agency increasingly appeals to those more familiar with established units and buying processes.

3 Ways to Increase Your Success with Affiliate Programs (NET-ADS, January 11th)
This article from contributing author B. Delepierre features a few basic guidelines to optimizing one's potential as an affiliate marketing web publisher.

Media Blitz: Tech Publications Distressed (internet.com, January 11th)
Though not directly related to online advertising, it's worth noting that the market for tech-business advertising continues to dry up offline, with Ziff Davis and CMP Media feeling the effects of the squeeze in magazine ad revenues.

Yahoo! for Researchers (ClickZ, January 11th)
Pamela Parker here looks at the savviness behind Yahoo!'s ongoing efforts to align its brand with industry research events and reports in order to lure advertisers.

Honda Looks to Nab Gamers (internet.com, January 10th)
Building on earlier efforts put forth by BMW and the film studios, car manufacturer Honda has tapped into the emerging 'advergaming' trend by commissioning the development of a multiplayer online game aimed at promoting its new range of consumer vehicles.

The Ins and Outs of Networks vs In-House (Refer-It, January 10th)
Christopher Saunders here embraces one of the longest-standing debates in online affiliate marketing; that being whether to manage one's affiliate program in-house or outsource it to an established network.

At-Work Surfers Catch Advertisers' Eyes (AdvertisingWatch.com, January 10th)
Just as the online population has established the critical mass that results in the population's demographics aligning with those of the early-adopting nations' general populations, research groups have been attempting to narrow demographics by comparing the usage patterns of various groups. This article notes how at-work internet users often more closely match the highly-desired segments reached by advertiser's in the web's early days.

U.S. and U.K. Wireless Ad Groups Merge (internet.com, January 10th)
In an effort to more effectively tackle the global rollout of wireless technologies, and to establish ethical and professional standards to govern marketing activity incorporating said media, the US-based Wireless Advertising Association has merged with its UK counterpart, the Wireless Marketing Association, to create a single entity known as the Mobile Marketing Association.

Online Retail Marketing Initiatives in 2001 (eMarketer, January 9th)
The cost to e-retailers to acquire a customer declined from $45 per customer in Q1 2000 to just $12 in Q3 2001, and 78% of e-retailers' marketing expenditure went to online media in Q3 2001.

DoubleClick Exits Profile-Based Targeting (internet.com, January 8th)
After struggling to justify the costs associated with operating its Intelligent Targeting unit, DoubleClick has backed away from its profiling business and, in doing so, has temporarily halted one of the web's most promising (and most controversial) methods of marketing. In related news, True Audience - the company formed by ex-Real Media founder Dave Morgan - has additionally moved away from the profiling business that was once core to its operation, and has changed its name to Tacoda Systems. For more on this, check out this internet.com article.

Yahoo! Buys Bigger Foothold in LatAm Ad Market (internet.com, January 8th)
Web portal Yahoo!, aiming to boost advertising revenue amid one of the industry's worst downturns in recent history, is snapping up troubled StarMedia's Brazil-based search engine, Cade?, with an eye to increasing its foothold in Latin America. The deal promises to make Yahoo! the third largest web publisher in Brazil.

Instant Gratification (ClickZ, January 8th)
This article argues that more than ever before, brands need to instantaneously reward their customers for loyalty. At a time when consumers have learned that the whole world can change in a day, long-term rewards just aren't as meaningful.

7 From Seven: Featuring Seven of the Industry's Brightest (ChannelSeven, January 7th)
ChannelSeven presents a brief evaluation of the year that was in online advertising via a series of single questions posed to seven leaders in the space.

How the Search Engines Built Trust with Advertisers (australia.internet.com, January 7th)
A patient approach and a resistance to the over-hyping of unrealised potential helped the pay-per-click search engines to avoid some of the pitfalls experienced by the languishing banner ad market, suggests Niki Schevak.

Study: Ad Clutter Hurts Effectiveness (internet.com, January 7th)
A recent study by Dynamic Logic has validated what should be naturally evident to anyone with a functioning brain and a pair of eyes; that cramped page design can stifle advertising awareness, reducing the medium's maximum effectiveness in terms of brand recall by some 12 percent.

Levi's Asks Web Surfers to Pick Super Bowl Ad (internet.com, January 7th)
Blending online advertising with traditional spots, Levi will shortly be promoting a website upon which three of their newly-developed TV ads will appear. Visitors will be enticed to the site by contests and the opportunity to vote for the ad that they'd like to see Levi show during this year's Superbowl.

eUniverse to Buy L90 (AdvertisingWatch.com, January 3rd)
In a move that can only be described as unexpected, the profitable and publicly-traded web publisher eUniverse (which operates Flowgo, Cupid Junction, and a host of 'fun page' sites) has opened the year by announcing an unusual bid to acquire ad rep and technology provider L90.

iTV to Hit Mainstream by End of 2002, But Ad Revenues Will Take Longer (internet.com, January 2nd)
A recent report released by the Yankee Group points to a rapid early uptake in systems capable of supporting interactive TV applications this year. The same report, however, has suggested that while usable and essential applications, such as content portals and TV guides, will find a place in many homes shortly after the units are installed, the adoption of applications suited to the carriage of interactive advertising will be far more gradual.


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