Skip to content

AdAge Article: Alarmist and Unfounded

Lionseye insights from AC Lion

Article By: Dan Goldsmith (

I was initially very very concerned about yesterday’s article in AdvertisingAge by Abbey Klaassen “$80 Billion? Online Display Market Is Being Overhyped”. The last time I read a headline to an article of similar tone was July 2000 when the WSJ was reporting (well back in section B) that Visa Card was scaling back its online banner ad spend due to poor ROI. That story was a leading indicator of what eventually became the dot.Com implosion (March Madness? Maul Street? Anybody? Bueller…..Bueller……..) So to say the least my heart skipped a beat as I wondered just what had happened to inspire such an alarmist headline. The answer………NOTHING! Operative word being – alarmist.
Ms. Klassen’s initially makes dramatic statements like…

• “The exuberance isn’t so rational this time, either”. She seems to suggest that the current state of online advertising is as unfounded as it was in’00-’01.
• “Its déjà vu all over again…” as she critiques Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick which most experts seem to agree was a great acquisition for Google and MSFT’s attempt at Yahoo which is based on MSFT’s desire to compete along a different vein of online spend (search – not banner as the article would eventual try addressing).

Ms. Klassen must have a personal issue with……well…..facts as she doesn’t really use them to make her points in this article. I’m not pointing fingers saying “this is a poorly written piece”, but unless there’s evidence to support her claims, I just see her post as an attempt to gain more readers. Oh, and the “simply fabulous” quotes continue…

• “….And we know by now that measured-media growth has pretty much ground to a halt as marketers continue to increase their dollars in unmeasured disciplines such as web development, public relations, and database marketing at the expense of paid advertising.” NO SOURCE! NO FACT! NO NUMBERS. This is one’s simple opinion.
• “…and digital is faring better than its more traditional counterparts, bit its impossible to say its growing at the rate it would have were the economy booming or even normal.” I don’t quite know what her point here was. She seems to suggest that internet growth is stumbling but doesn’t care to source 1 fact behind her opinion. As well, she seems to suggest that our inability to compare current growth rates and economic factors to economic factors that don’t exist as a valid reason to be concerned about the overall value impact and sustainability of the internet advertising space.
• “And jobs in the space? They declined last month too” Sure would love to see some numbers behind that too because we are wrapping up a fantastic July!

She wraps up this article by suggesting that in 5 and 10 yrs display advertising will be only one segment of a more diversified online pie, but that’s just a basic reality that anyone in the space understands, not really a point and certainly not a conclusion that Online Display is “overhyped”