A Report of the Working Group on Internet Advertising
The Coalition for Networked Information
September 28, 1994
The Internet is too good a market: There are too many people using it, with too many “interest” groups, for advertisers to stay away. And Internetters have much less problem with advertising than the rhetoric would have us believe.
Just as consumers will tell you they'd rather go without marketing communications (advertising, pr, sales promotion, etc.) in any medium when you put the question to them that way, they similarly accept it when the medium matures to the point that the acceptable trade-off equation balancing content versus advertiser underwriting is well understood. [From: Chris Bonney <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Sat 26 Mar 94 1:59:48-EST]
As acceptance of advertising grows among users, and pressure for advertising grows among providers of goods and services, the real need will be for guidelines to maintain the Internet culture.
These guidelines can be created, and they will be welcomed by advertisers and users alike.
Here are our suggestions for guidelines for Internet advertising:
- Provide information
- Don’t impose.
Simple. Easy to remember. Effective.
Like good advertising.
Note: The standard textbook definition of advertising is “nonpersonal communication of information usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature, about products, services, or ideas by identified sponsors through various media.” [Source: Arens, William F. and Courtland Bovee Contemporarty Advertising (5th Ed.). Burr Wood, Illinois: Irwin, 1994.]
For the purposes of this paper, we have chosen to define advertising more broadly, incorporating publicity, public relations, and just-plain promotion of a product or service, commercial or non-profit. Like Justice Hugo Black, we may not be good at defining it, but we know it when we see it.