April 13, 2013

Birth of the banner ad

Brian Morrissey of Digiday writes about the inception of online banner advertising:

Back in the fall of 1994, Bill Clinton was nearly midway through his first term, Ace of Base was at the top of the charts, and the Web was in its infancy. Businesses were just waking up to the power of the Internet as a commercial platform. In California, the staff at Hotwired — the Internet offshoot of Wired — contemplated how exactly to pay the writers it hired.

The idea arrived to create a dozen sections that would carry banner” advertising. This wasn’t entirely original. Early Web service Prodigy had used similar methods, although it placed its banners at the bottom of the screen. (This led to the first ad blocker; a piece of plastic affixed to the bottom of monitors to obscure the dreaded advertising.) The ad was small and unobtrusive by necessity. We were designing for a 13-inch black and white screen,” said Hotwired’s CEO at the time, Andrew Anker. It was state of the art at the time.”

(via daring fireball)

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