Twenty years ago, the Internet was still in its infancy, but naturally, business types found a way to start capitalizing on it immediately. In 1993, the first ever digital ad was introduced. A year later, Wired ran its first banner ad. Like much of the Web in the 90s, it was a digital version of print ad ported to the Internet.
The very first text ad was sold by Global Network Navigator, the first commercial Web publication. The site sold its ad to a Valley law firm, and a $36 billion business was born. Twenty years later, advertising is still the most viable way to support Web-based media.
Even then, banner ads were pretty much reviled.
In 1996, a Web directory called Planet Oasis noted that, of “pay per click ads,” which is the way many ad networks still charge their clients, “early participants are less than enthused.” And yet, here we are, still selling banner ads, and still not clicking on them.
Since then, such innovations as video, search, retargeting, mobile, rich media and social advertising have evolved. Perhaps the best part of the infographic below (created by Marin Software) is the note in April of 2008: Exitexchange.com won the patent for pop-up ads after eight years. Pop-ups may be the only online ad more hated than banner ads.
While we’re reminiscing, I stumbled upon this video explaining the Internet in 1993, which has a couple of gems. CBC interviews a Web surfer who says that in 1993, people are not assholes online, despite their anonymity.
“There’s an interesting kind of restraint that you find,” he says. “There’s not a lot of cursing or swearing. There’s not a lot of personal cuts. There’s not a lot of putdowns that one would expect to find,” he says. “It’s interesting because one would think if you’re anonymous, you do whatever you want.”
Oh, those innocent times. Just you wait, buddy!