Since the rise of the Internet, it has been a popular advertising medium. Many companies, corporations, and small businesses have taken advantage of the platform. There are, of course, ads on most any web site that you visit. Consumers use search engine sites and are presented with ads among their search results. The entered search keywords are closely tied to the ads that are presented. Internet advertising has become very cost effective, and time saving.

Custom business web sites have become very easy to implement. As a result, they are extremely common. Most every business, even a very small one, now has a web site. It is actually odd for consumers when a web site is not available. Business web sites are popular because they allow the company to personalize their message. They can deliver content to customers directly with product and service information. The site allows the distribution of regular communications such as newsletters, offers, and informational articles. The company can also deliver their own ads to viewers on the side, or top, of the web pages.

Since it is now easy to reach a business audience, for any type of customer, there is a danger of misusing technology. Over the years, advertising has become classified into legitimate, and illegitimate forms. Legal online advertising includes banner ads, online directories, search engine advertising, and other forms of explicit offers. Illegitimate advertising is typically referred to as “Spam”, and can take the form of unwanted email messages, annoying pop-up screens, and unauthorized applications called “Trojans”.

A great deal of effort has gone into the standardization of legitimate advertising. Businesses work closely with governments and customers to establish best practices. Reputable companies only send email to those people who authorize electronic contact. While permissions may be implied, the reputable emails are clear, and include a feature allowing the customer to decline future messages.

Unfortunately, less rigorous control has been imposed on illegitimate contact methods. Trojans continue to be released. These are usually in the form of harmful applications which steal vital information such as credit card numbers. They may also harvest email lists from computers, sending these to distant servers. Once captured, such information is then used to illegally obtain products, or cash, from banks, online sales organizations, or even from individuals.

Unfortunately, the worst of the Trojan applications are usually very difficult to detect, or remove. Once they infect a system, they exploit various security weaknesses. They mimic safe programs so as to be ignored by anti-virus programs. They may alter themselves to avert detection. They are particularly insidious. Because these applications operate out side of the regulatory environment, they do not comply with advertising standards which seek to improve the online community. As such, they are often very irritating, and damaging.

As technology has increased in capability, special effects are employed to boost interest in legitimate advertisements. Vivid coloring, good page layout, and imaginative designs, are used. Many times specialized technologies, such as Adobe Flash, are used for campaigns. These allow more interaction with potential customers.

Typical ad types that are Encountered

Banners are ads that display in on-screen areas. They may be active animations or static displays. They can be of various sizes and types. Web pages may display them in a rectangular area across the page, ahead of content, or down either side, next to content. Trick banner ads have extra functionality, similar to dialog boxes. They may have buttons or input fields. They may display on the web page or as a system alert box.

A pop-up is a display ad that activates as a new window atop the active web site page. Pop-under ads are similar but they display beneath the active web page. These are seen after the main page is closed or set to minimum size.

Interstitial ads display in advance of the page the viewer intends to see. These ads may show for a set length of time, or they may require a viewer to perform and action, such as clicking a button.

Wallpaper ads are seen on the background of site pages. These may remain fixed in place as the page is navigated, or they may scroll with the displayed content.

Some ad blocks float on the web page. As the viewer moves the web page, the floating ad will automatically reposition itself so as to remain prominent among the page content.

Polite ads deliver their message without affecting the normal flow of the web site.

Ads that enlarge, or contract, or ones that change their block content, are known as “Expanding Ads”. These are usually quite dynamic, and are often responsive to the actions of the viewer.

Advertisements are now often video clips. These are quite readily accepted by viewers.

The various advertising types can be purchased by advertisers through Internet protocols such as “Cost per Mille”, (CPM), “Cost per View”, (CPV), “Cost per Click”, “CPC”, or other similar viewer action metric. The term “Mille”, as in CPM, represents a unit of 1000. It typically refers to the presentation of an ad 1000 times to a set of customers. A fee is due regardless of the number of times a viewer may take deliberate action.

Other advertising methods, such as cost per click, or other action, result in fees when the particular viewer action is detected. For these methods, the ad will essentially display for free. It is only the click which results in a fee.

Online ads are now used to advertise practically all types of products or services. They are also used to publicize charitable events, and even to spread education. Technology now allows advertisers to directly reach a highly refined group of target customers. Very little effort is wasted by delivering the message to uninterested people. As a result, target ad campaigns tend to be very successful. Advertisers like using the Internet to deliver messages due to the cost savings compared to traditional channels such as newspapers. Consumers like Internet ads since they tend to augment the web site viewing experience. This is especially true for clever ads which use engaging video, or contents. These have often received very high engagement from customers, making them popular for both web viewers and advertisers.