The Industry Standard: Intelligence for the Information Economy

This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

Spam Delivered Piping Hot

Feb 20 2001 12:00 AM PST

Advertisers want to instant-message you and become your peer.

Let's put in perspective all the recent stories about new-economy cutbacks spurred by plummeting advertising revenues. Today's news is pierced with rays of hope, or spiked by shafts of gloom, depending on whether you are an advertiser or a targeted consumer.

We'll begin our stroll through the future advertising landscape with Christopher Saunders' report on interactive TV in InternetNews. Saunders summarized a report by the New York-based Winterberry Group, a research and consulting firm for the direct-marketing industry. If the report projected any numbers for the size of the iTV advertising market, Saunders didn't report them. He concluded by listing several iTV alliances and partnerships recently signed by New York content and advertising companies.

ZDNet's Stefanie Olsen wrote on two more frontiers emerging for advertisers: instant messaging and peer-to-peer services such as Napster, Aimster and Gnutella. The subjects are related because some of the p-to-p offerings, such as Napster, have a built-in IM channel. The p-to-p Aimster runs on top of a number of IM services. Olson reported on Aimster's recent announcement that it would begin advertising via instant messaging as soon as next Monday. Olson probed the likely consumer resistance to unsolicited advertising in a medium some view as more intimate than e-mail. She quoted a spokesman for an advertising company exploring the new space: "The instant-messaging marketing is in its infancy now, but its lifespan will be short.... Instant messaging is such a powerful communication tool that it very quickly devolves into spam. It is going to have to be opt-in." Aimster's CEO Johnny Deep expressed the contrary view that joining one of the service's music fan clubs "implies that receiving that kind of targeted promotion would be OK." nodded to the ZDNet story and offered its readers the chance to comment. The geek outlet's "Sam" kicked off the discussion this way: "I'm saddened that Aimster debased itself by exposing its members to this nonsense." One reader amplified, "The VERY FEW MINOR reasons to even suggest using an IM app has just been shot down by this marketing crap."

CNET reported Macromedia's announcement that is making its Flash multimedia technology available for handhelds that run Microsoft's Pocket PC operating system. Reporter Cecily Barnes didn't mention the likelihood that this technology would be used to deliver colorful animated ads to Pocket PC users, but the possibility was not lost on the crowd. A typical comment: "Woo Hoo! We've just found a way to make PocketPC's slow, bloated and run out of memory ... just like PCs."

Finally, InternetNews noted in passing that the state of Minnesota is thinking about letting state agencies run ads on its home page. The outlet noted that such a move would hardly be surprising, from "a state whose governor does color commentary for XFL broadcasts."

Report: Interactive TV Soon to Become Direct Marketing Tool

Are You Ready for IM Spam?

Swap Files, Get Spam

Splash of Flash Heads for Handhelds

Macromedia Spreading Flash

Minnesota: 10,000 Lakes and Possibly Banner Ads