Net advertising showing signs of maturity

Internet advertising is showing new signs of maturity—and that could mean a bright future for the World Wide Web as a mainstream medium.

Advertising sales, a vital component in every commercial Web site's business plan, have been sluggish and uncertain for the last two years as major consumer brand advertisers held off to see if the medium would be able to return their marketing investment.

But three new studies show advertiser confidence in the emerging electrosphere, a greater diversity of products, and important increases in the amount of time consumers spend online.

Ad revenue in the third quarter, which ended September 30, totaled $169.8 million, up 27.4 percent from the second quarter, according to findings in the "Electronic Advertising & Marketplace Report," a biweekly publication of Cowles/Simba Information. Not only was the increase strong, it went against the slump that usually occurs in summer advertising, showing rising advertiser confidence, according to the report's editor, Matthew Kinsman.

At the same time, the Internet Advertising Bureau, a consortium aimed at maximizing the effectiveness of online ads, has found that consumer brand advertising in the second quarter made up 30 percent of all Internet ads