Digital Semantics: One Man’s Banner Is Another Man’s Display Ad

msnbc_home_caddy.png
I’m confused by this bit of news from MediaWeek:

MSNBC.com will roll out a sweeping redesign that encapsulates what publisher and general manager Charlie Tillinghast called “a major rethinking of what a news site is.” At the heart of that redesign is a philosophy that Web pages needn’t be text centric, and that Web ads should be large and not relegated to the periphery. “We don’t start with the premise that this is a newspaper online,” said Tillinghast. “In the past we’ve bolted on video and photos and commentary to text pages. Now all of those elements are equal.”
But even more radical is MSNBC.com’s decision to no longer serve banner ads, long the Web industry’s bread and butter. “The banner is dead on our site,” said Tillinghast. “They’ve become too commoditized,” particularly when they are served every time a user clicks to a new page, no matter how quickly they depart or whether they even see the whole page. But the new MSNBC.com is designed to be anti-page view to bring more content to the surface and require far less navigation by users.

I’m confused because there’s a huge Cadillac ad on MSNBC.com’s home page and more banners from Caddy on the sidebar.
Seattle’s technology news source, TechFlash, says “the new design wipes out 97 percent of the banner ads that once appeared on the site. In their place, MSNBC.com has rolled out advertisements that are embedded on single story pages and that appear around interactive content such as video and timelines.”
So, the banner is not, in fact, “dead on the site,” as it’s publisher and general manager claims.

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan in the Pacific Northwest. Brand builder at Bonehook. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Believer in Gossage, Bernbach and Clow. Doer of the things written about herein.