If you think you've been seeing a lot of those promotions from Bonzi.com Software (for its InternetBOOST utility) and Colonize.com (for opt-in email lists), you're not alone. Statistics from Web measurement firms Nielsen Media Research, ACNielsen eRatings.com and NetRatings show that those banners were among the most-seen by US Web surfers during the month of December.
The most-recent report from Nielsen/NetRatings, released yesterday, says that the banner ad seen last month by the largest share of all Internet users - the one with the greatest "reach" - was from ClassMates Online, on whose website old high school chums reunite. You may be among the 28.3% of all US Internet users surfing from work - or the 18.4% of home users - who saw the same ad for the ClassMates.com site. That was the one with the yearbook photos and the pitch that reads: "Do any of these people look familiar? Find your old friends again."
The Colonize "Message Alert" was in second spot with a reach of 27% at work and 14.1% at home, Nielsen/NetRatings says. In third spot at work was the Bonzi.com Software ad for InternetBOOST, with a reach of 22.4%. At home, Bonzi.com was fourth-ranked, with a reach of 9.2%.
Fourth-ranked at work, with a reach of 21.3%, was online lottery site iWin.com, whose banner ad urged viewers to "Click on the 33 for a chance to win $31,000,000." That ad was third-ranked among home viewers, with a reach of 10.7%.
But Nielsen/NetRatings' statistics also show that the foursome with the most- seen individual banner ads aren't the biggest-spending advertisers, or even the ones behind the largest volume of ad impressions. It's just that some other outfits have a larger arsenal of different ads with which to break up the monotony.
Nielsen/NetRatings says that retailer-backed privacy organization TRUSTe, which aims to boost confidence in online transactions, cranked out the most banner ads seen by users at home (2.4 million) and a work (1.8 million).
For TRUSTe, its reach into the audience of at-home surfers with all it banners ads was 35.1%. At work, it was 52.6%.
The total number of ad impressions and "reach" don't necessarily correlate, since some people may see an advertiser's pitches repeatedly, while Nielsen/NetRatings says its figures for reach are based on a count of unique viewers.
Microsoft Corp. was second-ranked in December, with 1.7 million banner ads shown to home users (and a reach of 51.9%) and nearly 1.2 million ads shown to those at work with a well-targeted reach of 70.6%.
Nielsen/NetRatings says its counts for banner impressions include "house" ads companies run on their own sites without traditional compensation. That means the TRUSTe figures include ads e-commerce co