Pioneering Internet Ads


Where were you in 1994? BlueKai SVP Cory Treffiletti tells us that's when the business of online advertising got its start, managed by a group of about 100 to 150 people. At that time, targeting meant marketers knew the time of day or day of the week the ads would serve on the site.

In his newly published book, "Internet Ad Pioneers," Treffiletti walks through the emergence of Web ads, how companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Facebook began, and provides background on what happened to the early companies like CompuServe, Prodigy, Excite, InfoSeek and Alta Vista.

Treffiletti also got in touch with many of the ad Web pioneers and got their story. While most people see technology as the core of the Internet advertising business, he points to the people who envisioned a "transformational medium" and future "where previously there was none." A vision of a "social revolution led by technology."



The book runs through interviews with Rick Boyce, Jeff Minsky, David Carlick, Sara Fay, Joe Mandese, Jack Myers, Mitch Joel, Dave Yovanno, and many more. In fact, 31 industry leaders provide insight into the beginnings and the evolution of online advertising.

Boyce, described as an "industry pioneer" involved in one of the very first ad deals with Hotwired in 1994, talked about 12-week sponsorships, a series of static banners on the top of the content page. Some 14 sponsorships were booked at $30,000 each for 12 weeks. He estimates the total industry revenue that year at less than $1 million. And, it wasn't until the following year that Excite, InfoSeek, Lycos and others began selling online advertising.

Minsky led the 4A's initiative to create standard terms and conditions for Internet advertising. The standards led to an agreement with the Interactive Advertising Bureau and established the concept of "sequential liability and third-party ad server numbers as a basis for reporting."

Treffiletti does a good job pulling together the history in the book.

Where was I in 1994? Looking toward the Internet to write ad copy and transition printed marketing campaigns. 

1 comment about "Pioneering Internet Ads".
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  1. Erik Ford from Kaizen, October 8, 2012 at 3:17 p.m.

    This is cool. I'd love to know where some of the top execs for CompuServe, Prodigy, Excite, InfoSeek and Alta Vista have ended up / what they are doing these days!

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