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MARKETERS: Hewlett-Packard Co., Staples, among others

WHERE TO FIND IT: Wellesley/Garden/2913/

CRITIQUE: Looking for a good time in Osaka, Japan? Hewlett-Packard Co. will bring it to you. We're not talking about the HP Instant Delivery solution featured in this banner, but rather the site on which the banner is running-a place that offers a succinct plea for "discreet and clean sex" in Japan.

Now before the rest of you marketers and media buyers go casting stones, hit reload on the page and see if your banner doesn't come up, too. Because if your banner is running on Yahoo!'s GeoCities, it just might.

We hit reload for a while ourselves and noted a few things. First, was the overwhelming preponderance of Yahoo! house ads taking up slots in the rotation.

Then there was the lack of major marketers advertising on the site. Sure, this content-rich Web page was sponsored by HP and office-supply store Staples, but more often than not it was supported by ad dollars from random GeoCities pages and small online stores.

Finally, we were shocked to find HP and Staples here at all. We thought about starting a letter-writing campaign to our congressman demanding a boycott of something or another. Don't get us wrong. We are all in favor of the small, targeted ad buy on the Web. It can cost less than running one 15-second TV spot to sponsor your favorite fan site, a user group or even a specific online community focused on your product or customer.

But sending banners out into the dark, with no assurance what your name is attached to, can't be a good thing-anytime.

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