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Click on Me: The Truth about Internet Advertising
9/12/2008 10:08:07 AM

I want to own MSN.

I read somewhere that up to 90% of internet users have their home pages set to MSN.  I can’t verify that statistic, but I know I use my MSN home page daily.


Why wouldn’t I?  I set up my MSN homepage to show me exactly what I want to see every day.  Weather forecasts, local and national news, movie times at my local theater, and even my favorite comic strip!


My home page also rotates a constant stream of interesting articles, just waiting for me to click and read.


Please understand.  Those tempting titles and snippets of information are designed for one purpose, and one purpose only.




Every time you open one of those great little articles, you are hit with multiple banner advertisements for the next greatest thing.  Banner advertising has become so prominent that most long-term internet readers ignore them, and zoom their eyes directly to the article title and contents.  We even ignore the insistent flashing and commands to “Click Here.”


But don’t despair!  Most MSN articles take a break midstream, allowing us to view even more text advertising smack dab in the center of the article!  And, by design, you will typically read a few of those ads before groping for the scroll bar, frantically moving down to the rest of the article content.


But don’t forget the insidious text link!  The highlighted blue text just begs to be clicked!  I rarely read an article without clicking through at least one text link.


If you don’t know this by now, MSN gets paid for all of this advertising.  Pennies for each impression or click on all of these banner ads, text ads, and text links ads up to thousands and thousands, if not millions of advertising dollars each day.


You may think I am complaining about all of this advertising.  In truth, I think this is genius at work!


MSN would not publish all these great articles if they did not get paid.  They run a business, and business requires revenue to operate.  You cannot operate any business long term without an adequate stream of revenue.  I like the articles, and I really don’t mind scrolling past the ads in exchange for the information and/or entertainment.


Internet advertising has revolutionalized business advertising.  Instead of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars to place a print ad, business owners can use pay-per-click or pay-per-impression internet advertising to spread the word about their company.  Internet advertising makes national advertising campaigns possible for every business.


For writers, internet advertising allows us to get paid to pursue what we love.  Writing takes time away from other income producing activities, whether it is a business or a job.  Internet advertising allows writers to be rewarded financially for their efforts.  And since internet advertising is paid based on readership, better or more useful writing efforts will be paid accordingly.


If you write, consider using Commission Junction ( ) or LinkShare ( to find advertising opportunities to support your writing efforts.


If you own a small business, test your ads using Google Adwords ( or Yahoo! Search Marketing ( before you launch a large banner campaign.  You may also want to consider some of the smaller pay-per-click advertising companies reviewed on PayPerClickSearchEngines 


Used correctly, internet advertising can be good for both business and consumers.  Most consumers are happy to find out about new products and services.  And all businesses can benefit from the opportunity to share their products and services using a relatively low cost advertising medium.


Instead of whining about the commercialization of the internet, learn from MSN.  Create great content, and the clicks, along with dollars, will follow.

Rebecca J. Jensen PO Box 28460 Spokane, WA 99228 (888) 776-0981, ext 112

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