INTERACTIVE: New-media clinic; Ads on the Net are big business but are sold by very different rules

Judging by the stories on this subject that have emerged during the last month, selling advertising on the Internet will be the biggest money spinner of the 21st century.

Judging by the stories on this subject that have emerged during the last

month, selling advertising on the Internet will be the biggest money

spinner of the 21st century.



Even Rupert Murdoch pinned his colours to the mast a couple of weeks

ago by taking BSkyB into a joint venture with OzEmail, an Australian

Internet service company, for what a Sky statement described as ‘an

international advertising service on the Net’.



Add to this the fact that Channel 4 has called in the ABC to audit its

Website for advertisers; BT has announced a ‘guaranteed hits or your

money back’ package for advertisers on its Yellow Pages site; Carling is

thinking of taking advertisers on its football site; and the UK’s first

new-media sales house is set to launch - and you have a mighty tide of

opinion which says advertising on the Internet will be big business. One

survey predicts that Internet advertising will top pounds 3 billion by

2002.



Really? To my mind, the best commercial tie-ups involve single

advertiser deals such as Vauxhall’s link with the Guardian’s Eurosoccer

site during Euro 96.



It’s probably fair to say that kind of project would not have gone ahead

without the backing of the advertiser. So these are advertiser-funded

sites, rather than sites that take advertising. In effect, we’re talking

about investment in production, rather than the purchase of media space.

You can’t talk ratecards and costs per thousand with deals like these.



The combination of fully funded sites and partly funded ones such as

these is set to dominate commercial activity on the Web - but sites like

this are precluded from selling their space to other advertisers.



So where will ad sales and ad auditing come into the equation? There

will be a few independent sites, news providers and search engines, that

attract enough traffic to give advertising value. But even these sites

can’t expect advertising to be their main source of revenue. Nor can TV

channels competing in the channel-crazy, audience-fragmented world of

digital TV.



By design and force of circumstance, advertising is becoming less

important to media owners everywhere. Why should the Internet be any

different?



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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).