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Internet ads face bumps as they eye a boom

While the Internet has decidedly emerged as a key advertising medium it may not be easy for advertisers to force surfers to watch the ads – unless they are ready to, reports Narayanan Madhavan.

business Updated: Aug 27, 2007 22:24 IST
Narayanan Madhavan

Call it the other side of a boom business.

While the Internet has decidedly emerged as a key advertising medium, with more people spending more time on the web or directly downloading content, including music and video, it may not be easy for advertisers to force surfers to watch the ads – unless they are ready to.

New Ad blockade

TubeStop can be downloaded as extension of the Firefox browser popular with those seeking more privacy and efficiency on the Net.

Advertisers upbeat

Internet advertising expenditure will grow to $42.9 billion by 2009, from $31.3 billion in 2007

You could say that spamming by ads is not on. Less than a week after Google-owned YouTube started embedded advertisement overlays on the video content downloaded from the sites, a high-tech software developer has found a way to block the ads, technology blogger and consultant Amy L. Webb reported on her site mydigimedia.com.

Netscape developer Chris Finke made the software which can be downloaded as extension of the Firefox browser popular with those seeking more privacy and efficiency on the Net. It is appropriately called TubeStop.

“...it’s obvious that we’re avoiding online advertising unless something — interesting content, say — compels us to watch. Marketers will continue finding ways to insert ad material into digital content, but programmers will always find a way to block it,” she added. The dilemma of ad blockade is not easy to resolve for those seeking money from advertisers keen to hook surfers.

Google’s own search-based advertisements involve payments only when surfers click on the links that lead up to the sites of the advertisers. Market research firm Zenith Optimedia forecast in March that Internet advertising expenditure would grow to $42.9 billion by 2009, from $31.3 billion in 2007.

The WSJ reported that the phenomenally popular social-networking website Facebook Inc. is quietly working on a new advertising system that would let marketers target users with ads based on the massive amounts of information people reveal on the site about themselves. Facebook, which is already being discussed as a potential takeover target for companies, is yet to clearly capitalise on its popularity. MySpace has already launched a targeted ad platform for its social networking site.