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Subject: Re: UKNM: Advertising might actually be dead
From: Ben Thompson
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 16:52:10 GMT

>>Netscape versions of Navigator. Most people I know looking into re-writing
>>Netscape are looking at this area more than any other.
>There's a simple solution to this. Write valid HTML. Don't rely on
>proprietry extensions for browsers which may not be around in a few years.
>In 1994 most people used Mosaic, by 1996 Netscape had an extremely dominant
>market share, now Microsoft is taking over that. Who knows where we'll be
>in four more years?
Sorry but the two items are not related. Although everyone should write
valid HTML, the parser should be intellegent enough to close a table if the
</table> command is not included at the bottom of the page. Between
Navigator 1 and 2 the parser got fussy and there is nothing worse then going
to a page and not being able to read it. This is one of the reasons why
Netscape is dying.

>There is a well-documented, freely available HTML specification available.
>Read it. Learn from it.

>>Now the code needed to identify and remove banners from an HTML page is
>>difficult. You merely remove any reference to graphics sized 468 by 60
>>pixels or redirect the request to another site (say your own). The problem
>>has always been accessing the HTML parser that processes and displays the
>>page. Previously this has not been possible and so there has been little
>>reason for people to try.
>Innovate. Why does all advertising on the Internet have to be 468 by 60
>banners on Web sites? Are advertisers really too unimaginative to use
>email, and other applications of the Internet, let alone using the Web in
>some way other than a 468 by 60 banner?

Actually, Adverts are standard sizes because the advertisers wanted them to
be standard sizes. I don't have to hand the date that the standardisation of
banners was agreed upon but I think it was October 95.

>I suspect the Internet advertising community is powerful enough easily
>generate plenty of news coverage about how site publishers are being
>exploited by those who seek to steal their content.

Um, How? Once the browser is in the public domain it is awfully difficult
for it to be removed. All publicity will do is to promote it. Also who
exactly would be interested in the story it might be News but apart from
Marketing and New Media Age no one else is likely to be interested.
>Alternatively, give people a reason to want to see your adverts. Innovate.
>You suggest that any move towards diversification in Web browser software
>is a bad thing. The Web is such an exciting medium because it is the first
>medium which allows viewers/readers to display content in a way which they
>prefer. This is a *strength* of the medium; clueless advertisers who are
>trying to apply the "rules" they've learnt for other media have to adapt or
>fail. Intelligent advertisers are aware of this fact and are exploiting it.
No, I've never suggested that and I don't even imply it here. The Netscape
plan is interesting and I am very curious to see how it ends. However, I
don't feel that the vast majority of improvements that will be made will be
interesting enough for it to be worthwhile. Mind you I'll be first in the
queue for the first XML browser that is created.

All I've pointed out is the most obvious problem I can see that will occur
over the next 6 months. Browsers do need to diversify. They also need to
become a lot easier to use as does Yahoo and many of the other search
engines. The WWW made the Internet easy to use in 1994 but 4 years later it
is too complex for the audience that is now coming in.

The rest of your paragraph relates to an opinion that I do not and cannot
agree with. The web merely provides another form of the printed page with
real time access to that information. At some point it might be more than
that but currently it isn't. The idea of sound and video is wonderful but
when I lost my cable modem it rather last its appeal. The web provides
merely a library of information that is sometimes well indexed and at other
times incredible badly indexed. Only if you index (target) your adverts well
will you succeed. As regards to advertising, when you move into a new field
the rules change and most people know that.

>Anyone who would like to read more about what the Web really is, rather
>than hearing more mindless hype about "multimedia experiences" should take
>a look at Jakob Nielsen's work at <URL:http://www.useit.com/>, amongst
>other places.
I'm trying to think where this relates to my comments. The last time I
talked about Multimedia was a year ago when I was working on a Multi-country
RealAudio network and before that it was probably while working on a CD-i
title in the early 90's.

The only reason I assume you talk about hype is because of the mention of
XML and ICE in my first paragraph. Now it is perfectly alright for you to
assume that the WWW of today is the same as the WWW of tomorrow but that
will not be the case. XML is not hype, it is an approved standard for the
WWW and was designed by amongst others Netscape and Microsoft. IE4 has an
XML parser available for it (granted its a poor beta) and parser source code
is now available. XML will not take off now but in a year or so, (ie 1
browser upgrade and a year of downloads later) it will be.

True, for the vast majority of advertisers knowing where the WWW is now is
important. But for myself and my clients (as we already know where we are
now), knowing where we are going is just as essential (if not more so).

I've now been in New Media 10 years (and a fortnight) and I fully intend to
be here in ten years time. To do that I need to know what is going on


Ben Thompson

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