ad info

TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards


about Asia Buzz  |  more Asia Buzz

Asia Buzz: Online Advertising
Can you remember the last banner ad you clicked on?

October 31, 2000
Web posted at 3:30 p.m. Hong Kong time, 3:30 a.m. EDT

So who is right? The skeptics who say online advertising is a dud? Or the boosters "pumped" in the belief that online advertising is about to take off?

Ticked off at Asia Buzz? Turned on? Talk back to TIME
The numbers don't look good -- the numbers in the market that is. The shares of NASDAQ-listed companies dependent on online advertising are off 80% and more since their highs earlier this year. Need further evidence? Click on the depressing, which tracks the "death dates" of Internet companies, and look up two of the sector's biggies -- Engage and 24/7 Media. Downside examines the cash in the business, the quality of the revenue coming in the door, and the costs walking out the door. Unless these companies go out and raise new money -- and this is the toughest, harshest market for doing so in a decade -- reckons outfits like Engage and 24/7 Media won't be around this time next year.


Letter from Japan: Dirty Politics
Clinton and Albright are playing right into the hands of Kim Jong Il
- Friday, October 27, 2000

Culture on Demand: Bottoms Up
Oktoberfest in Hong Kong
- Friday, October 27, 2000

Asia Buzz: Travel Woes
Don't look to the Web for your next holiday
- Thursday, October 26, 2000

Asia Buzz: You've Got Mail
Being rude in the New Economy
- Tuesday, October 24, 2000

Culture on Demand: Marketing Wars
Are you ready for green ketchup?
- Friday, October 20, 2000

Letter from Japan: Death of a Salaryman
A record 33,048 Japanese killed themselves last year
- Friday, October 20, 2000

Asia Buzz: Return of the Killer Tie
Casual office garb is on its way out
- Thursday, October 19, 2000

Asia Buzz: May the Best Man Win
This is the story of the rabbit and the tortoise
- Tuesday, October 17, 2000

Asia Buzz: Noble Winners
It was a proud week for Asia on the prize front
- Monday, October 16, 2000

The story behind today's news from the editors of Asiaweek

American advertising research group AdZone Interactive reports that online ad spending in August was 7.6% below July. When pressed, industry insiders say the quality of online advertising's reach is subsiding. In 1998, about 2% of users exposed to a banner ad on a website clicked on it. Today -- as websites have multiplied exponentially -- that ratio is a fraction of what it was, while clicks-per-thousand ad rates have been slashed.

Even shares in Yahoo!, one of the few companies that earns profits from online ads and placement because of its massive reach and brand recognition, saw its shares take a big tumble recently when it admitted that 40% of their ad revenue had come from dying dotcoms. Even some of those in the industry are skeptical. Adam Boettiger, the founder of U.S.-based, said recently that, "online advertising billed itself as being dramatically better. Unfortunately, we shot ourselves in the foot."

If only Asia had such candor. Hong Kong-based has a deal with U.S.-based online ad group DoubleClick to roll out the brand across the region. But investors aren't convinced it's a good business.'s business model is predicated around content sites like MTV Asia and E! Online, and driving advertising to them and other sites through DoubleClick. Goldman Sachs took public on the NASDAQ as the April tech wreck kicked in. Sadly, it was one of the Asian Net's biggest flops. You can now buy what were then $14 shares in April for $1.75. So how can turn itself around? It's unclear. Its Singapore-based manager tried to convince an audience of travel executives at a TIME sponsored conference last week that Asia's online ad market would soon "take off." But she offered no evidence as to why that might be, apart from the U.S. experience, and her constant exhortation that it will. The audience was unconvinced.

Perhaps it's because they are inherently salesman, but the industry seems to think that if you say something loud enough and often enough, that people will believe it be to be true. This week we see DoubleClick's chief executive, Stephen Moss, claiming that online revenues in Asia could double each of the next two years. "We've heard estimates of the Asian market's worth ranging from $1.1 billion to $5 billion by 2004," an enthusiastic Moss told Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper. And then he gave himself away. "For us, we have to believe that the eventual worth will be in the higher end of that range."

Of course they have to think that. Their survival depends on it. In coming months, expect more of this type of talk. But don't expect to see the shares of online advertising companies, and their content partners, to zoom up any time soon. Why? Ask yourself a couple of hard questions. What was the last online ad you can remember? And how many times did you double-click on it?

Eric Ellis is the Southeast Asia and Technology Editor of the regional finance portal

Ticked off at Asia Buzz? Turned on? Talk back to TIME
Write to TIME at
Search for recent Asia Buzz

TIME Asia home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN


Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.