7.0388 Internet Business Journal (1/138)

Mon, 10 Jan 1994 20:02:26 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 7, No. 0388. Monday, 10 Jan 1994.

Date: Tue, 4 Jan 94 12:15:15 EST
From: mstrange@fonorola.net (Strangelove Press)
Subject: Internet Business Journal PostScript Version Online (Issue 1.6)

Commercial Opportunities in the Networking Age

The first and foremost information source for the
commercial Internet community.

Volume 1, Number 6 - December 1993

A free PostScript version of THE INTERNET BUSINESS
JOURNAL (December 1993, 1.6) is now available.

FTP to nstn.ns.ca
Directory: /pub/internet-business-journal/
Files: ibj6_1-11.ps and ibj6_12-19.ps

Special thanks to Nova Scotia Technology Network for making
this FTP archive available.

Please note that the pages may not print properly (or at
all) on some printers.

Also note that Issue 1.6 (December) will only be freely
available as a PostScript file. For a low ASCII sample
copy (Issue 1.5 November), Gopher to gopher.fonorola.net
or retrieve the file ibj5.txt from nstn.ns.ca (or contact


Advertising on the Internet
Resources for Business, Commerce and Industry
Air Force Medical Clinics Use the Internet
Software on the Net
Harvard Business Review Online
Internet Garage Sale
The Mass Media, Misinformation and Internet Hysteria
Direct Marketing by E-Mail
Government Online
Internet Publishing Profile -- Meta
Internet Publishing News

RFC/FYI -- Editorial
An Inevitable Consensus on Internet Advertising

Advertising has become one of the hottest and most
contentious issues on the Internet. Many people are
outraged at the idea of having unsolicited mail arriving
at their e-mail boxes. And of course when we think of
unsolicited mail, we always think of the reams of junk-
mail we receive with our snail mail. This example is a
good one insofar as it represents a condition into which
we would never want Internet-based advertising to
degenerate. The "junk-mail" model is bad, however,
insofar as it is meant to be representative of
advertising in general. Let's face it; people do not
usually find advertising objectionable when it is clever
and creative, or when it introduces products in which
they happen to be interested.

Advertising is here to stay

One of the questions which has been considered on some
forums is whether or not advertising should be allowed on
the Net at all. There have, for example, been postings
which suggest that the Internet is a "sacred ground"
which should not be soiled by advertising. This, however,
ignores the reality that business is already being
conducted on the Internet (or you would not be reading
this publication), and that advertising usually goes
hand-in-hand with business. In other words, the question
concerning whether advertising should be allowed is a
moot point. What the Internet business community needs to
decide is how to do it properly. And there have been a
number of suggestions in this vein.

Some have suggested the establishment of lists or
newsgroups devoted to advertising. Users could subscribe
to these forums if they were interested in being kept up
to date on new products and services. This would avoid
the problem of receiving unwanted mail, though of course
it would restrict the advertiser's ability to target
potential customers.

Another suggestion is that all e-mail advertisement
messages have distinguishing characters in their subject
lines so that users could easily identify them as such.
This would allow advertisers to target potential
customers, and would make it possible for users to decide
whether they are interested, and if not, remove the
advertisement with the push of a button.

At the heart of this issue is that users and advertisers
be able to come to an agreement. The Internet is in a
unique position to redefine the relationship between
advertisers and consumers. Never before has it been so
easy to contact an advertiser who is annoying you with a
poorly conceived advertising campaign. Never before has
it been easier to deliver advertising right to a
consumer. These communication lines between Internet
users and advertisers should be used to strike a balance
between the needs of both groups. In fact, many Internet
users have expressed the belief that this reciprocal form
of communication will effectively regulate advertising
itself, since the members of the Internet community are
able to collaborate and effectively undermine any
particular advertising campaign. This process should not
be seen so much as a policing force as a moderating one.
The Internet user can help advertisers become more
effective (and less offensive), and advertisers can do a
better and more efficient job of promoting their
products. Users have to realize that businesses are not
going to forego the use of the Internet as an advertising
tool, and businesses have to be sensitive to the needs of
the user.

The problem of how to advertise is a problem just like
many others which have arisen on the Internet: there is
no specific policy in place which would govern its
resolution, and no authoritative body which would enforce
it. Instead, this resolution will require sensitivity by
the business community to the Internet user, and vice
versa. However, with the kind of dialogue which the
Internet makes possible, there is no reason that Internet
advertising could not peacefully co-exist with any other
aspect of doing business, and not degenerate into the
mass junk mail-outs which we have all come to know ...
and hate.

Aneurin Bosley

For subscription information, contact
Mstrange@Fonorola.Net (Subscription Manager, 208 Somerset
Street East, Suite A, Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA, K1N 6V2 --
TEL: 613-565-0982).