When the web came along, different people would have liked it to become different things. For some it was “unconceivable that we should allow so great a possibility for service… to be drowned in advertising chatter”. No, actually that’s not Tim Berners-Lee talking about the web. It’s Herbert Hoover, then US Secretary of Commerce, talking about radio, in 1922. But you get the idea.
Some people thought the web was going to enable top Universities to spread knowledge to the distant corners of the world. Others thought it was the perfect place to sell dog food, hence the long series of “Amazon for pets” E-Commerce websites that were funded during the Bubble.
Advertising people, of course, thought it was going to be an advertising medium. Like Tv, but better: “interactive”. The idea was that, for reasons which I have yet to understand, people would want to “interact” with ads. Thus the IAB, or Interactive Advertising Bureau, was born.
My first question is: why in the world would you want anybody to “interact with your ads”? Wasn’t the goal of advertising to convince people to buy your bloody product? Oh, right away – right from the ad, you mean? You must be day-dreaming. But, incredible as it may sound, many were.
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