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The Internet Advertising Bureau this fall will start releasing a monthly tally of Net ad spending in a program overseen by Coopers & Lybrand that aims to show the medium's viability for marketers.

IAB held its inaugural meeting in New York last Friday, gathering more than 300 executives involved in all aspects of Internet advertising and research.

"We are here to say we're a real medium and we're committed to making it accepted as one," said Rich LeFurgy, VP-advertising and product development at Starwave Corp. and the group's acting chairman.

For the monthly ad reports, IAB wants to include all Web sites generating at least $5,000 a month in ad revenue. Sites will be expected to provide total ad revenue and revenue by product category.

IAB will have three levels of membership: companies selling ad space; those supporting ad sales; and related organizations.


The group's first meeting included its share of cheerleading, tempered by a dose of hard reality.

"Advertisers are just beginning to think about this concept of building Web sites to meet marketing objectives," said keynote speaker Bill Harvey, president of Next Century Media.

A recent survey by WebTrack, a service of New York consultancy Jupiter Communications, found that two-thirds of all ad spending on the Web went to just 10 sites. The bulk of ad spending comes from two categories-computer marketers and Internet companies.


"All of us in the industry and this room have not cracked the code" to reach mass-market advertisers, Mr. LeFurgy said.

Also clear from last week's meeting: the incredible disconnect that still exists between ad agencies and sellers of online media. In a rancorous panel discussion, agency executives pleaded with sites for accurate, timely reports on who is seeing their advertising.

"The technology exists for each of you to know the number of unique users who hit your site," said John Nardone, director of media and research at Modem Media, Westport, Conn. "Everyone seems to be claiming ignorance, and that to me is inexcusable."

The tension was evident even within the audience. When some executives said they'd be willing to take as little as $2,000 in business from an advertiser just to get in the door, others in the audience hissed "Just say no," a catch phrase that lingered throughout the meeting.

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