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August 1994

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Birth of a New Media

by Glen Emerson Morris

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With an estimated thirty plus million individual users, the population of the Internet is as great as California. These thirty million include the most technically literate, best educated, and well paid professionals in the world. Taken as a group, their disposable income ranks as at least the seventh greatest economy in the world. Add the multitude of corporations and governments now on the Internet, and collectively, the Internet presents the largest single market in the world.

The lightning growth of the Internet couldn't come at a more fortunate time for advertising and marketing. By definition, every Internet user can link their computer with every other computer on the Internet and share computer files, quickly and inexpensively. Since the release of Acrobat from Adobe, anything created with desktop publishing software (like QuarkXPess and PageMaker) can be viewed and printed with other computers. The only problem remaining was how to get digital ads to consumers cost effectively.

HTML and Acrobat made the digital ad possible. The Internet has made it practical.
Integrating Internet advertising with current ad campaigns can be simple. A single additional line in print ads could alert Internet users to an address they could call or "log in" to download more information about the product. They would get the information sooner than if sent by Federal Express, and for less cost than if sent by regular mail. In addition, consumers would have the option of leaving their names and addresses to generate lead lists for sales calls.

A basic system, capable of delivering 100K of advertising material to a couple of thousand of people a week (a dozen typeset pages with no halftones), can be assembled from off the shelf products for three or four thousand dollars, and operated for a few hundred a month in communications charges. All it takes is a single personal computer, a high speed modem, the right bulletin board software, and a phone connection to an Internet access provider. And someone who knows what they're doing.

Costs rise proportionately to capacity. A system capable of handling several thousand calls a day could cost $10,000 to $60,000 a year in additional phone and Internet access charges, but savings are commensurate. One to two dollars could be saved in printing, handling, and shipping costs each time a consumers request is made over the network compared to requests by letter or phone. If the volume is there, so will be the savings.

Unfortunately, the problems are equally big. Having just evolved from a government/academic background, there is virtually no business infrastructure to support advertising on the Internet. The concept of "netcasting" ads created with desktop publishing systems, or Desktop Netcasting (DTN for short), is not recognized by most of the principal players in the computer, advertising, and Internet service industries. Without their active support, it may take years for DTN to become widely used, and millions of dollars in needless expenses may be incurred in the mean time.

For the aggressive advertiser and marketer, Internet advertising is a viable reality now, and for good reason. In the Information Age economy, the Internet is the ultimate advertising strategic weapon. More purchases are being made on the basis of information, and the Internet can deliver that information faster and cheaper than any other media.

Copyright 1994 - 2010 by Glen Emerson Morris All Rights Reserved

keywords: Internet advertising, Internet marketing, business, advertising, Internet, marketing. For more advertising and marketing help, news, resources and information visit our Home Page.

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