IAR Bits and Bytes

Byte.com Goes Pay

Techie site Byte.com has decided to go paid, blaming the downturn in online advertising for the move.

“As with a lot of sites, advertising has never carried its weight,” wrote Jonathan Erickson, Byte.com’s editorial director, in a letter posted on the site. “Consequently, we’re faced with two choices — finding alternative ways of funding Byte.com or (gulp!) shutting down.”

Beginning Nov. 25, users will need to pay a $12 annual subscription fee to gain access to the site, which carries articles on topics like x++ and distributed DOS attacks.

As a further lure, Byte.com is offering a package deal that includes a Byte CD-ROM of eight years of archived issues for $19.95. The CD-ROM normally sells for $38.95.

In addition to weekly columnists, such as Jerry Pournelle’s “Chaos Manor” and Martin Heller’s “Mr. Computer Language Person,” the site also has daily news and features. Erickson said banner ad revenues were insufficient to cover the sites overhead.

Recently, CMP Media moved its quarterly e-zine, The Perl Journal, to a subscription model, charging $12 a year. Erickson said the e-zine fell just short of its goal of 3,000 subscriptions prior to its Nov. 1 launch.

Gator: Users Want Control

Under fire on numerous legal fronts, ad-supported software maker Gator released the results of a user survey it said showed its users want control of what they see.

Gator said it canvassed its users’ opinions by serving pop-ups on their screens, stating the legal action being taken by publishers and other companies, and then asking, “Who do you think should control what pop-up windows (including ads) can or can’t be displayed on your computer screen?”

The result: 82 percent of 2.1 million respondents agreed consumers, not Web publishers, should have control of consumers’ computer screens.

“It was pretty astonishing that 2.1 million people took the time to vote,” said Scott Eagle, Gator’s chief marketing officer.

Web publishers have sued Gator, claiming its ad-serving approach misleads Web site visitors into thinking ads are delivered by a publisher, and wrongfully obscure ads that the publisher has already sold to an advertiser.

Gator was filed a similar suit in October. A bevy of big-name publishers, including The Washington Post Co. and New York Times Co., are scheduled to go to trial early next year in their suit against Gator.

Atlas: Reach Duplication a Myth

A new study by Atlas Institute, a research group of Avenue A unit Atlas DMT, says the common notion that online advertising results in a duplication of reach is largely a myth.

The study, conducted by Atlas Institute’s director of analytics, Young-Bean Song, looked at 58 ad campaigns Atlas has run. It found that in large ad campaigns users infrequently encountered an advertiser’s ads on more than one site. For campaigns reaching between one million and 10 million users, Atlas detected duplications in only four percent. Even for campaigns reaching more than 10 million users, the study reported just a 13 percent duplication rate.

Song concluded that advertisers seeking to increase reach cost-effectively could easily bump up the number of Web sites they advertised on, without much fear of duplication.

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