The ad-supported Internet is responsible for around $300 billion a year in employee wages, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
The study, by Harvard Business School professors John Deighton and John Quelch, as well as Cambridge, Mass.-based Hamilton Consultants, is part of a larger lobbying campaign launched Wednesday in Washington, D.C. by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The group will also officially debut a mini-documentary, "I Am the Long Tail," featuring small publishers that tout the benefits of online advertising. The seven-minute clip, which surfaced on YouTube earlier this year, shows more than a dozen publishers and editors from sites like Show Me The Curry stating that Web ads have allowed them to build an online business.
The authors of the new study, Economic Value of the Advertising-Supported Internet Ecosystem, found that 1.2 million people currently work in jobs related to ad-supported Web sites. The authors say that if each Web job supports 1.54 other jobs, a total of 3.05 million people owe their livelihood to the Internet. The authors calculate that those jobs account for around $300 billion in employment income, which comes to around 2% of the U.S. gross domestic product.
The IAB's new campaign comes as lawmakers are reportedly prepping new privacy laws that would affect online advertising companies. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) is believed to be readying a proposal to require companies that track people online to notify them about it and obtain their consent. In addition, legislation regulating online privacy was introduced in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts, although none of those states have enacted new laws yet.