speaking of website ads:

here’s a good article from http://www.gazetteworld.com

INFORMATIVE ADVERTISING: A BETTER WAY

Advertisers have tried many approaches on the Web. When one approach
bombed, advertisers tried a new one. The latest is “contextual
advertising.” Sounds sophisticated. But it will die like all the others.
Why? Because none of these fanciful techniques take into account the new
online reality: The visitor is boss.

A new approach, Informative Advertising, does.

>> THE ADVERTISING CEMETERY

Since inception of the commercial Web, advertisers have been busy trying
innumerable techniques. I look briefly at the major ones:

1 - PUSH - Early in the game they decided to send news together with
advertising directly to the Net user. Did not get off the ground.

2 - BANNERS - At first banners seemed to work. But after awhile they faded
away. The cemetery is full of them.

3 - ANIMATION - You still see animation, though not as much as was
prevalent at first. It will die soon.

4 - FLASH - This seems to be the time for Flash. But it is so irritating
it will die soon too.

5 - POP-UPS - You try to visit a site and up pops a window with an ad.
Annoying. I don’t give it much time to live.

6 - POP-UNDERS - Instead of the window popping up in front of the window
you want you see the popped window afterwards. This too will die.

>> THE LATEST APPROACH: CONTEXTUAL ADVERTISING

Now advertisers have gotten the brilliant idea of grabbing the visitor’s
attention while he or she is in a related situation. They say that if a
person is at a search engine entering a keyword, this is a good place to
advertise a product or service that fits under this keyword. This
particular approach, it seems to me, is an excellent form of advertising.
It has been done successfully by Google and other search engines. Some
call this “contextual advertising.” But I have a better name for it, as I
will show below.

Here is an example of “contextual advertising.” An outfit called EZula
sells keywords. But instead of supplying a search engine EZula distributes
a program called TopText. When a user of TopText visits a site, he sees
highlighted words, which enable him to jump to sites that have purchased
ads for these keywords.

These words are not highlighted by the website owner. They are highlighted
by TopText. The jumps take the visitor, not to a site chosen by the
website owner, but to a competitor site. Do you think competitors will put
up with this? More important, do you think the visitor, when he finds out
about this “contextual stealing,” will trust the advertiser for anything?
This is the most outrageous form of advertising invented so far.

Wells Fargo Bank, I hear, is one such “contextual advertiser.” Does this
increase your trust in Wells Fargo?

>> THE BIG BLUNDER

Why do advertisers, who were so effective offline, not know what to do
online? Because the tricks they developed over the years to ensnare the
consumer do not work online. They do not work because the environment has
changed drastically. Before the vendor was in control; today, online, the
consumer is in control. Before the vendor could play on the emotions of
the more or less “captive” consumer; today the consumer has an infinite
number of choices. Before ads were effective by themselves; today you must
get the consumer to do something - click.

In other words, the consumer is boss. Advertising, like everything else on
the Net must be helpful to the consumer. Using wile to catch the consumer
will not work. Annoying the consumer with spam messages, or even with
opt-out messages, will not work. Stealing “context” from competitor sites
decreases consumer trust, and will not work.

>> INFORMATIVE ADVERTISING

Let us get back to advertising that works. What Google and other search
engines do is sell ads related to keywords. When your chosen keyword is
picked by a user, your website message appears on the right side of the
results page under Sponsored Links. Other search engines list them under
Preferred Sites or similar headings.

These successful ads are characterized as follows:

> They do not try to ensnare you

> They do not try to interrupt you

> They do not try to hurt others

> They are obviously ads

> They are related to your current interest

> They are INFORMATIVE

The last item is key:

> THEY ARE INFORMATIVE!

Good online advertising is INFORMATIVE ADVERTISING. It does not try to
manipulate the visitor in any way. It earnestly tries to be helpful. It
earnestly tries to build trust. It earnestly tries to steer the consumer
to a site, but only if the advertiser feels the site may be helpful to
the consumer.

Of course context is important. Context is one way the advertiser knows he
may be helpful to the visitor. But context is not enough. The important
consideration is how you use context: to exploit or to help.

Everyone agrees that newsletter advertising works. Why? Not merely because
the context is right, although this is important. Newsletter advertising
works because, for the most part, it is Informative Advertising.

>> SUMMARY

The old-fashioned advertising, which culminates today with “contextual
advertising,” or as I call it “contextual stealing,” is dying. The best
type of advertising - today on the Net, but tomorrow off the Net, as well

  • is informative Advertising. Informative Advertising is part of an
    integrated marketing strategy called Helpfulness Marketing.

Paul -the soarING- Siegel is a provocative Internet speaker and author of
HELPFULNESS MARKETING, a book stressing learning, cooperation and
community. Learn about it at <
http://www.learningfountain.com/helpfulnessmarketing.htm > Subscribe to
newsletter, LearningFOUNT; send blank email to:
mailto:LearningFOUNT-subscribe@topica.com.


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