Online advertisers should tread carefully

Source: Rob Pegoraro, Washington Post (Free Registration)

If you see these words in a Web browser, you didn't pay to read them. And that should be OK. Enough people read The Post online to add up to a large audience -- all of you, no doubt, attractive and intelligent individuals -- whom advertisers want to reach. Those companies, in turn, should pay enough to cover our operating costs and keep me in the manner to which I've become accustomed. But over the last year, that formula has developed cracks. Ad sales are down at many sites -- they may drop from 5 to 10 percent this year across the Web -- while publishing costs haven't budged all that much. When that happens, publishers have two ways to get advertisers to cough up more money: Let them be pushier about grabbing readers' attention, or give them more information about readers' interests.

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