Digital MarketingStrategiesWhat's the Buzz?

What's the Buzz?

John Day's weekly round-up of the discussion list buzz. This week: Third-party ad serving, eMarketer's report, and where are all those high CPMs?

I-Advertising Moderator Adam Boettiger’s plea for a few more substantive topics was answered last week by Eric Bozinny, who proposed a discussion of third-party ad serving.

Eric referenced the FAST (Future of Advertising Stakeholders) measurement committee’s voluntary guidelines for measuring ad impressions and clicks, pointing out that the guidelines represent a major shift from previous positions assumed by the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau). Eric explained the discrepancy between the way large sites and third-party servers count impressions, and asked why large sites cling to their own ad management systems’ tallies when third-party servers adhere more closely to FAST’s guidelines.

Eric’s post came late in the week and drew only one response, from Sanford Carr, who wrote that the OTS (opportunity to see) an ad occurs when the request is generated by a user’s browser, “not when it’s registered by the final serving machine.” It’s not the publisher’s fault if a third-party server can’t deliver an ad quickly enough.

Web Ad Growth Potential

eMarketer’s recent report on web advertising caught Leo Sheiner’s eye. He suspects the report’s estimates might be a tad low. The report says that in 2002, advertisers will spend $62 billion on TV, $58 billion in newspapers and $44 billion for direct mail, compared to what Leo presumes is $13.5 billion for online ads.

Leo’s post drew a (semi-defensive) response from eMarketer “statsmaster” Geoff Ramsey, who wrote that if eMarketer’s numbers are low then so are everyone else’s. Now, now Geoff no taunting.

A problem for the web, wrote Alan Zell, is that when sites use advertising to cover their overhead, the ads send prospective customers elsewhere, which offsets the value of the ad revenue.


Prolific poster Tim Lee talked at some length about targeting. But his post contained more questions than answers. Noting that some firms target based on demographics such as age and income, Lee postulated that what seems like a good site for advertising may not be; that deeper analysis is needed to make the best decision.

He also mused that part of the problem we have with banners comes from the fact that we can measure banner CTR (click-through) so accurately. We can’t measure response to an ad on TV or in a newspaper, so we don’t worry about those media. On the web, we can and we do.

Questions & Answers

If anyone’s still looking for a good PR firm, Adam Glazer provided I-Advertising a list of online directories, some of which are searchable by area of expertise.

An anonymous member looking for snail mail list brokers drew lots of potentially helpful suggestions.

And Sandeep Krishnamurthy was delighted with the response he received to requests for interesting student projects. He’s teaching an e-marketing course at the University of Washington this summer.

Online Ads

Big group hug for George Williams. Last week was George’s debut as moderator of Online Ads. As a welcoming gesture, Jeremy Swinfen Green suggested a new thread on generating word-of-mouth publicity online. Tim Smith contributed the tale of an .exe file from a security company that emulated his entire hard drive being erased. Sarah Hey said her firm has been using jpeg images inside email and is getting ROI too high to measure.

Banner Positioning

Linda Caroll responded to Stefan’s week-ago post on banner positioning. It can make a huge difference, she believes. Banners in the lower-right-hand corner of a site outperform those at the top by 228 percent. She also made reference to an article in a computer magazine about some innovative ads that Warner Brothers is using with six-figure results. Alas, as Michael D’Aust Garcia pointed out, she neglected to provide the reference.

Rate Cards

In last week’s episode, Evan Thomas asked who’s getting CPM (cost per thousand) ad rates of $30-50 ’cause it’s not him. His plight drew several thoughtful responses from Online Ads members. Everyone’s looking for deals, so “you might as well aim high and hope for the best,” counseled Bill Ferguson.

“Create solutions for clients beyond just banners and tiles; for example, a venue where clients can publish their own content,” advised Gregory Morey. Larry Chase pointed to as a place to find comparisons of online and offline pricing and suggested that Evan step up his sales efforts.

Robert Gordon poo-pooed the notion that online ads is a buyers’ market. “Just because a fast food place serves ‘generic white fish’ and can sell their products cheaply, doesn’t mean that if you serve Dover Sole you must sell it for the same price.”

Gordon added, “Look to the magazine world for inspiration; low CPMs for high volume general interest publications and high CPMs for targeted magazines. If advertisers are paying high CPMs to reach your audience in print and direct mail, they should and will pay for the audience that you deliver on the most effective medium ever devised — the Internet.”


The thread-that-will-not-die raised its intriguing head once again with posts from Glenn Sobel, Malcolm McKinnon, David Yancey, Matthew da Silva and Mark Brownlow. Glenn advised search engines to focus on serving searchers, and wrote that “using any criteria for ranking that is not based on relevance and quality is a fraud.” Malcolm and David both applauded Rob Arnold’s earlier suggestion of adapting a Notary Public model to the web. Matthew and Mark pointed to the value of vertical search engines.

Feedback Time

Okay, readers. Let me hear from you. Would this column serve readers better by skimming the surface more completely — touching on every post — or by delving deeper into selected threads? Let me know what you think at

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