Innovators: online

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You might think Jim Spanfeller has it in for the esteemed Wall Street Journal . A year after launching the " Challenge," in which advertisers are offered a money-back guarantee that the ad dollars they spend on will outperform the same sum spent in the print pages of the Journal, Spanfeller still has no takers. The challenge still stands, though, and was trumpeted in an ad campaign that debuted in April.

Spanfeller said his intention is not to make the Journal look bad, adding that he would have just as much confidence offering the same challenge against any print publication with a high percentage of C-suite readers.

"The Web is the most important source of business information for C-level decision-makers around the world," he said. "We're just trying to get that message across to the marketing community in a creative way."

The "Challenge" campaign builds on a message Spanfeller has been trying to convey for years: The Internet is a great direct-response medium, but it's also a great brand-building vehicle. "Ninety-nine percent of the ads that don't get clicked on still make an impression," he said. With 10 million monthly users, that adds up to a lot of impressions on

So Spanfeller unveiled a "brand increase guarantee" more than two years ago. Any advertiser that spends $150,000 on the site over 60 days-originally $100,000-will see an increase in brand metrics as measured by a third party or get that money back. More than 70 different clients have tried the brand-increase guarantee, representing $5 million to $10 million worth of advertising, said Spanfeller, and hasn't refunded any money. "We really can't lose here."

-M .G.

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