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Subject: Re: UKNM: Advertising might actually be dead
From: Tom Hukins
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 16:32:38 GMT

Mark Dolley wrote:
>Tom Hukins,tomateborcom [dot] com wrote on 2/19/98 11:43 AM:
>>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?
>Tom, you are being disengenous. As you you full well, 468x60 is the
>standard. Change the standard to something else and it remains just as
>vulnerable, because of its very nature as a standard. And without
>standards for advertising, the Web will never be more than an opportunity
>for guerilla marketing. And we'll certainly never make a dent in TV ad

True, advertising needs standards, but only those which are necessary. The
standard ad banner sizes were decided upon after advertisers complained of
having to create multiple versions of the same banner for site owners who
demanded the banners they show be of a certain size.

It seems strange to me that sellers weren't prepared to accept banners
within given limits, for example banners of between 440 and 480 pixels wide
and between 45 and 75 pixels high.

Sure, Web designers who believe they're working with a WYSIWYG medium will
state that they want to allocate a specifically sized portion of the screen
for banner display. Fine, allocate a 480x75 area and use simple HTML to pad
out the banner.

I can't see any problems with this. It facilitates innovation by removing
an uneccessary standard. It doesn't take banner designers back to the days
of having to create 468x60, 460x55 and 470x64 pixel banners. Have I missed
something? Is there a reason I've missed why standard sizes are necessary?

Most banner serving software has evolved beyond the primitive stage of only
showing ads of a specific size. There are even several freeware programs
available which can do this.

Ben Thompson wrote:
>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.

>>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.

Yes, and from what I remember, the reasons advertisers wanted standards was
because they were having to create different sized banners for different
sites. I don't see why sites which accept advertising can't be more
flexible. Is there a reason why all the ads they display need to be a given

Of course, I exclude banner exchanges from this, they obviously need all
adverts to be the same size. Linkexchange already had a standard size of
440x40 which incidentally was excluded from the original standard proposals.

>>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.

Firstly, Netscape aren't putting their browser in the public domain. They
are releasing the source code to the public, but they will place
restrictions on what can be done with it.

If Web sites make less revenue because Web advertising is less effective
the least profitable publishers will close down. These publishers will
blame banner aviodance as the reason they had to take their content off the

If Web users value that content they will be upset that a useful site has
closed down. They will know who to blame. Web users won't continue to
practice banner avoidance when their favourite sites start closing down
because of it.

Besides, advertisers can innovate to make it difficult for software to
differentiate between adverts and other data, if they wish.

>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.
[ snip ]
>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.

The Web is not merely another form of the printed page. The Web is the
first medium which allows authors to describe the meaning of their content.
The HTML <CITE> tag allows me to state that I'm citing something, for
example. In any other medium I woould either have to state that I am citing
something, or imply that I am citing something. In a printed article,
citation is implied by placing the title of the publication in italics, but
this is ambiguous as italics are also used in other contexts.

The description of content facilitates the machine-reading of documents, as
well as allowing viewers to configure the way in which certain meanings are
interpreted visually or audibly, for example by using style sheets.

When I talk about Web hype, I am referring to people who tell us how
wonderful the Web is, but don't realise what I personally find the most
wonderful aspect of the Web. Some of these people think it's great that
many Web sites exclude those who don't have the very latest browser
software, those who have image loading turned off, and those who have a
disability. Let Web users customise their browsing environment however they
want; they'll respect you for it.

The next paragraph isn't about marketing, and may be too technical for some
people. Ignore it if you wish.

I agree with you that XML is an exciting technology, allowing a more
detailed description of content than HTML's primitive functionality. One
problem raised by XML is that many authors will be keen to develop their
own XML applications (an XML application is a certain form of XML which
contains its own structure and rules regarding the meaning of tags).
Because browsers cannot automatically infer the meaning of tags, they will
have to be told. Imagine, for example, that one XML application called the
<CITE> tag <CITATION>. How would a browser know that <CITATION> is used for
a citation? Browsers will understand a selection of commonly-used
applications, but some authors won't be able to resist the temptation to
use other applications, removing one of the primary strengths of the Web -
content description.

I'll shut up now, It's getting late.



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  Re: UKNM: Advertising might actually be , Mark Dolley

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