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Microsoft Corp. Exec VP Bob Herbold made good on his prediction: His company was the biggest advertiser on the World Wide Web last year, spending $13 million, according to Jupiter Communications. Microsoft outspent the No. 2 advertiser, AT&T Corp., by nearly a two-to-one margin.

Total online ad spending was $301 million last year: $260 million on the Web (including $18 million on online Yellow Pages and classified ads) and $41 million on online services and "push" technologies like PointCast. Web spending in the fourth quarter reached $102.4 million, up 51% over the third quarter's $67.7 million.

The total figure falls short of Jupiter's earlier projection of $343 million for the year, however.

Among consumer-oriented marketers, Levi Strauss & Co. was the top apparel advertiser, spending $634,000. Procter & Gamble Co., the top drug/toiletries category spender, put in $1.6 million. Toyota Motor Sales USA was the top auto advertiser, spending $2.2 million.

Only four of the top spenders were not among the top publishers: Microsoft, AT&T, IBM Corp. and Nynex. The top 10 advertisers accounted for 26.5% of all Web spending during the year, Jupiter found.

Jupiter estimates Web revenue and spending by analyzing site rate cards. Figures don't take into account discount rates and barter. Jupiter estimates its figures are about 15% higher than actual figures reported by public Web companies.

Up next: the Internet Advertising Bureau, which releases its tally of Internet ad spending on March 24 at the @d:tech conference in Chicago.

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