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Online Publishing and Advertising: The Fine Line

by Laura Fillmore

Presented at Meckler's Internet World
San Jose, California
April, 1995

Copyright © 1995 by Laura Fillmore; written permission required to reprint.

This is a work-in-process. Please use this only with proper attribution
to Laura Fillmore, Online BookStore, 1995.

Publishing: Living Digitally in Public

Every person or company putting forth ideas and information on the public Internet becomes a publisher.

Apart together: Separating private and professional lives online just as difficult as differentiating publishing and advertising?

What's for sale?
Products, Services, Thoughts?

It's the Process, not the Product:

"The trend in ads, then, is away from the consumer picture of product to the producer image of process. The corporate image of process includes the consumer in the producer role as well."
Marshall McLuhan, "Understanding Media"

The Past Isn't Dead, It Isn't Even Past:
Publishing and Advertising Then and Now

First ads were icons; in Roman times, most people couldn't read. (Gravedigger symbolized by a pickaxe and a lamp.) By the Middle Ages, most commercial sites had icons representing them on signs.


"It is the powerful mosaic and iconic thrust in our experience that explains the paradox of the upsurge of "Time" and "Newsweek" and similar magazines. These magazines present the news in a compressed mosaic form that is a real parallel to the ad world."
Marshall McLuhan.

Increasing use of clickable images and icons online.

In 1141, taverns in France hired public criers to give out free samples

"Sponsored" publishing is the prevalent form of Internet publishing today; free access to samples of texts and ideas

Ad competition

Prevalent form of advertising in 1800s was billstickers. Successful advertisers competed in time and space by pasting over the work of their competitors in places of transit such as railroad stations

Online publishers and advertisers "compete" by copying files and source codes then modifying each other's work and becoming supersets.

Ad Age Words of Wisdom:

David Ogilvy: "Advertising is a place where the selfish interests of the manufacturer coincides with the interests of society."

Jim Young in "A Technique for Producing Ideas": Every good creative advertising man has two noticeable characteristics: he is fascinated in all subjects--say from Egyptian burial customs to Modern Art--and he is an extensive browser, in all fields of information.

"For it is so with the advertising man as with the cow: no browsing, no milk."

"Let's follow it and see where it eats..." Runic inscription

The Sponsored Model

Sponsored publishing not new in conventional media

Paradox of Doing Business on the Internet: To Make Money You Have to Give It Away for Free

"Internet Companion: A Beginner's Guide to Global Networking" by Tracy LaQuey (Addison-Wesley, 1992)

McGraw Hill: Wiggins, "Internet for Everyone"

Hit- or Traffic-Based Sponsorship model adopted by "Global Network Navigator" and "Hot Wired"

What's for sale online is the rare and migratory bird called "attention" of readers

Keep Those Hits Coming: Context for Our Tour

What is a Hit, and Does Being Popular Really Matter?

Sets and Supersets: Politics of Pointing
Differentiating editorial from commercial

Make it Kinetic

Context rather than Content

Beyond the Particular and into the Generic:

Interactivity and the Open Work

Examples in Fiction and Nonfiction:
Nelson Mandela's "Long Walk to Freedom" and "The Lidsky Files"

Distributive characteristics of Mandela book:

Open Work Characteristics of Kemske work:

Why we are here?

Following The Money Trail

Who Pays for this Information That Wants to Be Free, Anyhow?

Fiscal Responsibility in Free-access Distributive Publishing

Time Warner and Mandela project:

It Pays to Participate: Reader/Users' Information for Sale

Where Publishing and Advertising Merge: the Push/Pull Interface

Lee Iacocca and the reader-driven van syndrome

AT&T and the Fairy Tale "Push"

MasterCard and the Anonymous "Pull"

MCI's Gramercy Press sets the stage for a new era in publishing:

"The product matters less as the audience participation increases."
McLuhan again

Dissolutions of Time and Space

Advertising as a state of mind

Publishing Conundra

Where are the publishers of tomorrow, working in the place where ideas grow?

Tomorrow's Internet World: Basically 'Bots

From Silicon Alley to Silicon Valley: Thoughts for the Next Conference

Agents and 'Bots as alteregos for our publishing needs, sold to us by advertisers and built by frontiersmen

"WOWser" Browser Butlers that anticipate--and shop for-- our physical and intellectual needs

As minds and machines marry, kiss those clunky passwords goodbye

OBS moves from what will too soon seem like the "naive" present, to tomorrow's models of Digital Evolution, by producing with Random House a distributive version of Nicholas Negroponte's "Being Digital".

Everyone in This Room Will Help Make Digital Evolution Happen; It Can't Happen Without Us....Yet.

Thank You.

Copyright © 1995 by Laura Fillmore; written permission required to reprint.

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