The Internet has received a great deal of attention in the media lately due to
its tremendous growth among consumers and businesses alike (Bush et al., 1998).
On October 4, 1993, Advertising Age (Ad Age) inaugurated "INTERACTIVE Media & Marketing"
(a section referred to as INTERACTIVE), a new department in the popular and influential
trade journal. World Wide Web advertising actually began just about the same time,
early in 1994 (Briggs & Hollis, 1997). Indeed, currently, about 130.6 million people are
visiting more than 14 million domains of the Internet
(Reuters, 1999 at URL: http:// www. internetnews. com;
DomainStats, 1999 at URL: http://www.domainstats.com) and the numbers still are
increasing at a rapid rate.
Although advertising expenditures on the Web still remain relatively small
comparing with those of traditional media, the spectacular growth trend in the Web advertising
revenues is expected to continue according to the Internet Advertising Bureau's Internet
Ad Revenue Report (1999 at URL: http://www.iab.net).
By the end of 1998, online advertising had grown to a $1.8 billion industry,
with revenue projections of almost $8 billion by the year 2002.
The Aberdeen Group (www.aberdeen.com)
predicts that Internet advertising spending will reach $5.1 billion by the year 2000.
According to the American Association of Advertising Agency,
45 percent of those surveyed said Internet advertising already was or was expected
to become a significant segment of their advertising budget.
Of these, 23 percent represented Internet advertising was already
a major part of their advertising strategy, 50 percent indicated
that it would become so within two to five years,
and the remaining 27 percent expected it to be within the next 5 to 10 years.
Considering such revolutionary developments caused by the Internet,
it is natural that this medium has become one of the popular scholarly subjects
for many researchers in the field of mass communication.