Now we’ll talk about the commercialisation of the Internet we’ve talked about how the openness of the World Wide Web created a lot of excitement and consumer uptake. So wherever consumers go, somehow throughout history advertisers have found a way to follow consumers, and with this opportunity publishers sensed the opportunity to start to monetise audiences, so it was traditional media companies who were already obviously in the media and advertising space that put together some of the first commercial offerings on the web.
They saw the opportunity to create online platforms for their readers who tended to be kinda techy, geeky people and this was the perfect storm because those were the people who were actually using the web in the early days.
There was a publication that Davis had called Computer Shopper at the time and it was this big and it was basically classified ads for computer equipment that was for sale and what the company did was quickly move to take advantage of that and start to move that model online, and while that big book of classified ads was a cash cow for the company they saw the future; in fact when I interviewed for a job with them to work on ZD Net, which was the website that Ziff Davis eventually built – it was a massive network – I remember thinking how profound their vision was at the time because they were thinking ahead into the future saying: well suppose some day our readers are able to buy this computer equipment over the Internet.
Today it sounds crazy you know, like, oh yeah, well of course we do these things every day – I buy things on my mobile phone every day – but back then it was, it was profound, it was new and it was visionary and it really wasn’t that long ago; so think about how the web has changed our life from that standpoint. Hotwired was another early website and Hotwired was the web property for a magazine called Wired and Wired really tapped into … how technology was affecting culture. The first banner that ran on the web actually ran on the Hotwired website and that was an ad for AT&T and its headline said: “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here?
You will”. And we think about that today
we’re still clicking banner ads but back then that was a brand new concept and that ad got a tremendous click-through rate; where we think today that average click-through rates on banners are less than one percent … I’ve seen conflicting reports on what the actual click-through rate was for that AT&T ad – I’ve heard 78 percent, I’ve heard 44 percent -\ not sure what it really was but needless to say it was significantly higher than what we’re seeing today.
The next players to enter the market were portals and Netscape was an early portal and another was called Pathfinder and Pathfinder was the product of Time Warner. So this was an aggregator site that put together all of the magazine sites – it was a portal of magazine sites for the Time Warner brand and in fact they closed Pathfinder down in 1999 because what they found was that rather than going to Pathfinder consumers were going directly to the home pages of the individual magazine websites and at the time when they closed Pathfinder down the
New York Times said, you know, this was a monumental move for Time Warner because this showed that we’re moving from an industry in its infancy to a more mature publishing model and you look at that today and I, I have to snicker at that because here we are many years later, over a decade later, and we still haven’t arrived at a mature publishing model on the web
and we can see traditional publishers still grappling with how to commercialise and effectively monetise the web with things like paywalls and freemium memberships search was one of the early applications on the Web and it became quickly commercialised some of the first players here were Yahoo, Alta Vista, Excite, Infoseek some of these don’t exist anymore and do you notice a brand name in this area that I didn’t mention?
That’s right; this was a decade before Google was even born and today Google is a household word you can see the opportunities for commercialisation around search because if the web provides open access to all of this information and documents there needs to be some system that organises all of that, and that’s what search did and it became really one of the killer applications up the web and it continues to hold that position today. Just like any other media that’s ever come into being the web provided an audience which advertisers wanted to connect with and in that way it became commercial as the web grew and continued its march in terms of number of people global that were using it as a channel, that created quite a complex and expanded ecosystem of players.
SOURCE – GOOGLE