Advertising and Promotion

from Internet Business

A key factor driving the explosive growth of the Internet has been the very low cost of self promotion using this new medium. The use of the Net for promotion, and more recently for straight advertising, reflects a growing recognition of the Net's ability to reach a narrow target audience, especially where that audience is not confined to a limited geographical area. The growth of serious commercial promotion and advertising is similarly starting to reflect the demographics of the Net user base-high income younger adults with limited free time.

In one sense, the use of the Net for Advertising and Promotion is very similar to its general use for Content Production and Publishing. However, these two areas play quite different economic roles. The advertiser expects to pay to have her message reach its target audience whereas the publisher aims to be paid by persons wishing to view/read her works. While it has long been envisaged that a pay per view mechanism[1] which handled positive and negative payments might go a long way towards serving both these needs, some other distinctions have emerged in practice.

The publishing role of the Net has enabled authors to reach an audience without the constraints of volume, time and peer review normally involved in print publishing. In meeting that need the Net has become a form of 'vanity press' from which it is only a small step to more blatant self-promotion and ultimately commercial advertising. However, the early Net community idealised the traditions of academic research and deemed straight advertising to be unacceptable, applying strong social pressures through various technical mechanisms to keep it 'pure'. The coincident rise of the Web and of commercial use of the Net has more recently provided an accepted opening for commercial advertising, but it has certainly not removed the de facto advertising ban from many other areas.

The use of computers for graphic design has provided the main link from the advertising industry to the new technologies and it is expected that progressive graphics design houses will play the primary role in realising the Net's potential for commercial advertising and promotion. The cost of acquiring facilities and additional skills needed to enter this market would be over $100,000 for a small design house, but the potential returns to those that make that move early and who can manage rapid growth will be many times the initial capital cost.

[1] See Financial Transaction Processing