Commercial Re-shaping

Whether we like it or not, the internet would not be the same without online advertisement. It’s existence often has a fundamental influence on the website’s design, as spaces within it are created in order to host ads and banners, furthermore many if not most websites rely on advertising revenue for funding, which enables the internet to be a largely free experience for it’s user. Imagine what would be of the web now if we had to pay to view individual websites.

The very first use of the internet for advertisement happened on the 3rd of May 1978, when a marketer for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) sent out an email to ARPANET’s users in order to inform them about an open house for the company’s new computer. Despite the early internet’s ban of use ‘for commercial activities by for-profit institutions’ the email advertisement caught on, later becoming dubbed as ‘spam mail’.

The first ever click-able banner add was sold to Silicon Valley law firm by Global Network Navigator in 1993. It was the 27th of October 1994 that the first banner add appeared on HotWired, the online branch of Wired magazine, which allegedly popularised the medium.

The banner was sold to AT&T, a telecommunications company. The ad had a 44% click-through rate and directed the user to an online tour of the world’s most acclaimed art museums.

There are now many technologies that can be used to get rid of a substantial amount of advertisement on your computer screen. Advertisements can slow down websites whilst making them appear cluttered and blocking the websites content. The use of ad blockers has risen 41% worldwide between 2014 and 2015. The use of such software is controversial as, as I mentioned before, many websites rely on advertisement revenue, which has led to some companies taking action. Websites can now detect whether their visitors are using ad blocking technology and may be programmed to react to it.

City AM adblocking

The thought to take away from this is that the internet is ever changing; as new technologies and trends appear, they also lead to further development and innovation forever shaping the internet’s fibre of experience.

Links and further reading: article on first banner ad

Article on the origin and history of Google’s ‘AdWords’

Guardian Article on AdBlocker blocking by City AM







  1. However, do you not think that with the creation of ‘adblockers’ and what not, that now advertising is less popular. As our society becomes more advanced with technology and what we are doing with it, we no longer find adverts satisfying and quite frankly, annoying. A 2013 study showed that around 68% of online consumers find online advertising annoying. (Source: and i can only imagine that the statistics have gotten higher.


  2. I study PR&Advertising and I find online advertising annoying. I also use an ad blocker because I feel like online advertising is in someway stopping me from what I want to do and most of the ads are not even relevant to me so I choose to ignore them.
    We see around 5000 ads per day according to Jay Walker-Smith, a Yankelovich consumer researcher (Source: When I first heard this fact I was surprised and I tried to think of how many ads I saw that day and not even 10 came to mind. I think this is because we have become so used to seeing advertising everywhere that our brains just choose to ignore them completely.


  3. I think the facts that you have obtained for this post are so interesting, advertising is a huge part of the commercialised internet so it’s important to study their origins and their existence and effect on users.
    What I find even more interesting is the creation of ad blockers which triggered a response from the suppliers, very much like the use of product placement in television in reaction to the ability of consumers to skip adverts. Website suppliers must find a way around the lack of advert consumption and it makes you wonder what the future of online advertisement is and what actions will be taken to combat this.


  4. Though most if not all people who use the internet find online advertising annoying, and I would count myself within that group, we would not have the internet the way we do today if it were not for online advertising. Only about 40% of the world population has access to the internet as it is. If it weren’t for online advertising, it is highly likely that we would be paying for access to websites, on top of the prices we already pay to access the internet, including the price of electricity, devices which can access the internet, and cable and internet services which put us online. For so many internet access is already unaffordable. Without online adds, that 40% would likely start to decrease quickly.


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