Commentary

Ghosts of Columns Past

As this is an interactive vehicle, it has been interesting-and fun to track responses to this column over the past two years. Some columns generated lots of reaction, some none at all. And some reactions have been more illuminating than the column itself. Here, some columns and the kinds of responses they generated: *

- Case study on how one company's marketing plan found success using Web advertising. Generated more responses than any other column. Most wanted to know who the company was. Some voiced the opinion that they didn't believe Web advertising could be so successful. *

- The weakness in Web advertising, and a plea for stronger online creative. Fairly high number of responses, almost all in agreement. Curiously, no one from any agency responded in defense of their work. *

- Effects of an economic recession on media. Lots of people wrote in, some including their resumes. *

- Casting doubt on the quality of media trade columns. General agreement from respondents. Disappointingly - or perhaps predictably? - no one stood up in defense of trade journalists. *

- End of year list of memories and predictions. A dud. Not even the guys who send in corrections bothered with this one. Perhaps it was just the time of year, or perhaps columns of lists are just lame. *

- Proverbs and 'words to live by'. A big hit, surprisingly. Lots of people sent in their own favorites. This one will definitely be repeated. *

- Effects of the increase in ecommerce on Web advertising. Generated a few good, thoughtful emails questioning the link between selling stuff on the Web and advertising on it. Passionate but misguided. *

- How marketers should best use the Web. Another big yawn. Virtually no reaction at all. Note to self: stick to more provocative subjects. *

- The Web Sea Scrolls - a whimsical look at the origins of Web advertising. Response was a little scary: some people took it seriously. *

- Applying conventional media yardsticks like reach and frequency to the Web. Topical and useful, but almost completely ignored. Probably just ahead of its time. *

- The effects of September 11 on media. Generated lovely, warm responses. Thoughtful and patriotic. *

- Comparison of media use in the 80s, 90s, and 00s. While this column was intended to provide historical perspective to those who haven't been in the business for too long, instead it created confusion and lots of questions. Try again. *

- Using a poem by Yeats to explain how the Web works. Generated quite a few emails, even one from the editor of this column. Will be repeated, next time with a work by an easier poet. Perhaps Dr. Seuss. *

- Attempt at humor: parody of news items announcing 'the bottom of the advertising market.' High hopes for this one were unwarranted. Out there: the sound of crickets on a summer night.

-- Michael Kubin is co-CEO of Evaliant, one of the web's leading sources for online ad data.

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