Masthead CMC Magazine / February 1, 1996

Business Models for the Web

by Chris Lapham

Web technology continues to push the envelop but the question that still nags most of us is "How can we make money doing this?" Advertising is the probable solution and industry experts recently predicted that advertising on the World Wide Web would become a multi-billion dollar industry in the future.

But it could be argued that using advertising to support Web sites is a carry-over from traditional media. Why should anyone pay to advertise on a site when they can just as easily put up their own Web page to attract visitors? Can Web-based zines (including our own CMC Magazine) and online newspapers deliver a targeted audience--which is really what advertisers pay for? In addition to subscriptions, advertising, and sponsorship, what are some innovative ways to pay for the cost of Web development, maintenance, and innovation?

Now that the Web is moving out of the R&D stage, strong and continued financial support will be critical if the new medium is to take root in society. We would like to open an informed debate about the economic realities facing the Web, find those creative innovators that are making money and hope they'll share their expertise with us, and generally open the floodgates of ideas so those cash rivers will soon begin to flow (in the right direction of course!)

The June 1996 issue of CMC Magazine will be devoted to these issues surrounding the very practical problem of finding economic value in a Web-based publication or site. We're interested in a variety of perspectives on this issue: from people just trying out publishing, to those who have had a long (or financially successful) experience.

You can send an inquiry of your ideas for this to For more information on submitting material, check the CMC Magazine Index and the links under "Policies."

We welcome your ideas, suggestions for articles, and proposals for submission. [TOC]

Chris Lapham ( is Chief Correspondent of CMC Magazine.

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