June 1996

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The Evolution of the Revolution

by Christine Lapham

"Publishing on the Web is easy: making money is the hard part." Don Brazeal, President of The Washington Post's Digital Ink subsidiary, neatly summed it up at the recent Jupiter Communications Consumer Online Services conference in New York City. Funding Web development, and especially finding a continuous cash flow to pay the salaries of programmers, designers, writers and editors, and webmasters is a challenge for most of the new media world.

One strong source of funds is advertising, and sites--especially the large "branded" sites such as Netscape, USA TODAY, Pathfinder, and ESPN--are finding that funds from ads is a very viable option for them. A good example is USA TODAY, which logs something like 2.5 million hits a day. The site has 15 regular advertisers, according to Lorraine Cichowski, Vice President and General Manager of the USA TODAY information network. USA TODAY discovered, too, that it's Web site was generating subscriptions for the hard copy of the newspaper.

The ^ good news is that some people are doing an excellent job now and once companies discover the best uses of Web technology for their audiences, revenue should ideally start to flow.

The ^ bad news is that many people are wasting their money, especially if they don't know why they are online in the first place. [TOC]

Chris Lapham ( lives in the Capital Region of New York State and works as an online content consultant and technology writer.

Copyright © 1996 by Chris Lapham. All Rights Reserved.

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