Net gains credibility as ad medium

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When roughly 3,500 online marketing execs meet at @dtech in San Francisco next week, they'll be looking at how to make the Internet work as a mainstream medium.

Flash back to last year's spring @dtech show in Chicago, when Procter & Gamble Co. VP-Advertising Denis Beausejour announced the marketing giant would hold its now-famous Future of Advertising Stakeholders Summit in an attempt to make the Web an effective ad vehicle.

"The current state of Web advertising just isn't effective enough to warrant any truly meaningful investment from us," said Mr. Beausejour during his remarks at @dtech last May.

At that time, he called on the online ad community to address obstacles of bandwidth, measurement and ad models before big marketers like P&G would spend significantly on the Web.


Next week, the industry plans to show as barriers come down, the Internet is being taken more seriously as an ad medium.

The Internet Advertising Bureau will release its report on 1998 Internet ad revenue, expected to be near $2 billion, more than double the revenue of $906.5 million in 1997.

"We expect a very, very strong fourth quarter," said Rich LeFurgy, chairman of the IAB and chairman of FAST, the committee formed at P&G's summit last August.

Mr. LeFurgy said the spending continues to reflect seasonality, proving that the Internet is taking its place as a mainstream medium.

Also at @dtech, the FAST committee will finalize guidelines on ad insertion orders to simplify online media buying, which completes the initial round of guidelines from each of the four FAST task forces.

Since the FAST summit, the industry group has released recommendations on privacy, measurement and ad models.

New to @dtech this year is an opening day youth panel, made up of 15 people between the ages of 16 to 25, who will talk about how they use the Internet.


"Talking to them about how the Internet is part of the fabric of their lives gives us an opportunity to paint a picture of where this industry is going," said Jonathan Yarmis, exec VP-Internet content at eMarketWorld, Weston, Conn., which produces @dtech.

The show also includes keynote speeches from Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman-publisher of the New York Times Co.; Bob Pittman, president-chief operating officer of America Online; and Halsey Minor, chairman-CEO of CNET.

Copyright April 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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