In just a relatively
short time, advertising on the World Wide Web has become a common
activity embraced by advertisers and marketers across all industry
sectors. Looking back a little more than two years, that was not
As a VP at
Worldata for over 10 years, I have been privileged to witness the
development and growth of a pioneering media placement service for
the Internet. Taking a look at the early direction and misdirection
that has gotten Web advertising where it is now gives us a better
understanding of where it is heading.
prominent high-tech clients during Comdex '94, Roy and Jay Schwedelson
identified the buzz in the air about the "new Internet" and the
Information Superhighway. As regular exhibitors at and attendees
to Comdex, they received certain technical insight that was not
as available to their colleagues in the direct marketing community.
At Comdex '94,
Jay Schwedelson was helping man the booth during his break from
the University of Florida. A marketing/communications major, Jay
grew up around direct marketing and looks forward to an exciting
future within the DM community. Both Roy and Jay had attended the
keynote speech by Phillipe Kahn, which touched on futures within
the high-tech industry.
to the speech, Jay's concern was in regards to the future of direct
marketing in the next 10, 20, or even 30 years, and would it be
there for him.
On the flight
home, Roy and Jay continuously brainstormed different ways that
advertising could and should work on the Internet. They synthesized
traditional direct response marketing with the Internet, conceptualizing
the dynamics of targeted media placement on the Web. It was at this
point in time, WebConnect was born.
and Jay Schwedelson realized that the Web was the next direct response
medium and that the brokerage of information served on this new
technology was a logical outgrowth of their traditional business.
While the Schwedelson's were working towards the future, others
entrepreneurs and industry pioneers were doing the same. It was
evident that Web-based advertising was the next mountain to be climbed.
Below is a short time-line representing some of the key events which
occurred relating to the Internet.
on the Information Superhighway relating to Advertising (Source:
Ad Age, corporate press releases, and the Internet)
History Of Internet Advertising
1989 Tim Berners-Lee invents
the World Wide Web while working at CERN, the European Particle
Andreesen and Clark
HotWired site launches
with ads from AT&T, Sprint, MCI, Volvo, and others.
Pathfinder with test ads from AT&T.
Roy Schwedelson delivers
a speech on the Information Superhighway at the Fall DMA conference
in Toronto urging direct marketers to get involved.
CMP's TechWeb is
launched with ads from AT&T, MCI, and Tandem Computers.
WebConnect is designed
based on a direct response marketing model. Roy Schwedelson
and Jay Schwedelson return from COMDEX with initial concepts
on a banner ad placement service.
media kit is placed on the web detailing the program.
Prodigy is the first
commercial online service to offer Internet access to its
Vibe Online cuts
deals with MCI, Saturn, Timex, Jim Beam and Air Walk for dollar
amounts ranging from $20,000 to $60,000.
is awarded the Procter & Gamble account for handling web-based
pitches advertisers on $1 million charter sponsorships of
its future Web site and additional online properties.
CBS Web site is launched.
Yahoo!, a popular
Web directory, transforms into a commercial business.
Modem Media is awarded
the AT&T account for interactive media.
up the "First 100" member sites to its advertising network:
Home Education Resource Center, Art Cellar Exchange, 'Vettes
on the Net, Dale Carnegie Systems, Home Business Review, and
Ragu is identified
as one of the first packaged-good marketers to establish a
presence on the Web.
AT&T and Saturn take
banner ads on Pathfinder at the cost of $30,000 per quarter.
Council meets to identify goals, objectives and membership
guidelines for the newly-formed
to catalogers at the summer Catalog Conference in Chicago.
Over 60 business, consumer, and high-tech market categories
from a base of over 500 member sites are offered.
NetScape and InfoSeek
alter their pricing model to accommodate cost-per-thousand
MSN online service
is launched by Microsoft.
Proctor & Gamble
and Kraft register a combined 184 domain names to secure their
brand names in cyberspace.
banner ads for Encyclopedia Britannica.
acquires eight advertisers to contracts totaling more than
$1 million. October 1995
In excess of 24 million
adults in the U.S. and Canada have access to the internet.
Poppe Tyson spins
off its web ad sales unit as DoubleClick. Whereas WebConnect
took the path of traditional direct response marketing for
Web ad sales, DoubleClick adopts the Cookie technology which
tracks a user's activities on the Web.
CEO of Worldata and founder of WebConnect, takes a strong
position against the usage of Cookie technology based on protecting
a user's privacy.
and pays $200,000 for sponsorship of the Superbowl Web site.
The New York Times
makes its entry into cyberspace with ads from Toyota and Chemical
the AdServer ad management system for Web sites.
introduces the SmartBanner media planning service.
an innovative client-server application which delivers tailored
content from the Web in the form of an animated screen saver.
Juno launches a free,
ad-supported e-mail service. This is shortly followed by a
similar service from Freemark Communications.
The Wall Street Journal
makes its entry into cyberspace.
iVillage nets six-digit
in advertising dollar commitments based on a corporate philosophy
of humanizing cyberspace with targeted online communities.
Marketwatch, a Web
media planning tool, is introduced by FocaLink Communications.
and offers accurate measurement tools to advertisers. Private
URL's created to track Impression and Click-Through rates.
New ad management technologies support animated GIF's, banner
rotation, and CGI/Pearl scripting.
An ad campaign featuring
animated banners is launched by AT&T
As reported by Intelliquest,
35 million U.S. residents accessed the Internet or online
services during a three month period.
of participating member sites tops 1,000.
Microsoft says its
aggressive plans will position them as the largest Web advertiser.
heighten industry awareness on the invasiveness of the Cookie
The delivery of free
content to users of Microsoft's Web browser is agreed upon
by major sites.
Poppe Tyson files
for an IPO
September 1996GM expands its content
to over 38,000 pages, making it one of the largest sites to
October 1996CASIE issues proposed
Web ad banner guidelines.
Prodigy Inc. takes
the wraps off a long-anticipated Web-based version of its
November 1996ONSALE, the Internet
auction house for refurbished personal computers, announces
recorded monthly sales of $4 million. February 1998
HotMail Corp. announces
that registrations for its service has passed the 2 million
A proposal submitted
by Bell Labs's Information Science Research Center (RFC:2109)
calling for new Cookie standards is under review by the Internet
Engineering Task Force, a major step towards protecting a
March 1998Yahoo! makes a minimum
advertising commitment to Netscape of $25 million over two
April 1998Time Inc. New Media
agrees to syndicate some Pathfinder content on the Web site
for the AT&T WorldNet Service.
Microsoft Corp. announces
it plans to purchase WebTV Networks Inc. for $425 million.
With all of the
milestones that occurred, in such a short time span, we
are still at the start of our climb. I'm sure many more
pioneers and entrepreneurs will join in the adventure .