A lot of people criticize newspapers for just putting their stories
online, the same way they’d dummy them up on the printed page, rather
than really utilizing the two-way medium. I think you could argue the
same about the way many sites think about display ads. Too often it
seems a cat and mouse game where I’m chasing an ad around a page
looking for the close button so I can read some content. Sure, maybe I
look at your message more than I would in a banner. But it’s also
annoyed me enough that I will never buy your product. In many cases,
even a back-to-basics approach works better, as I wrote about in my
BusinessWeek column today that highlights some of the shockingly high CPM rates that un-high-tech email newsletters are getting.
Like so many things in the recession, it’s ultimately a good sign
that marketers are panicked. We might actually see some innovation here.