Site Unseen

Spruce up your banner ads or say goodbye to prospects.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the September 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You advertise on the Web, right? Sure you do, because with the online advertising market expected to reach $7.7 billion by 2002 (according to Jupiter Communications), you'd be foolish not to. But if you want to make sure your prospects see those ads, you'd better make them interesting and compelling--because you may soon lose your audience.

A new generation of surfing tools has been created precisely to block ads--just what you don't want. InterMute ( and AtGuard (, for instance, block banner ads, animated GIFs, pop-up screens and even background sound--which greatly cutting down site load times.

How do you compete with a quicker load time? Make your ads so intriguing and worthwhile that surfers won't want to block them for fear they'll be missing out. Sure, it's a daunting task, but you've got 7.7 billion reasons to try.

To contact Robert McGarvey, e-mail him at

Who's Out There?

W ant a snapshot of what's happening in Web viewing and advertising today? Stop by NetRating's site, and check out the daily stats, which include daily information on the number of Internet users (17.4 million on a recent day), the average amount of time spent online per person (28.5 minutes), and the average number of sites visited per user (four). Add up those stats, and, obviously, there are plenty of users online--a whole world of prospects at your fingertips.

Hosts With The Most

Making the switch to a Web-hosting service

Get serious about building a company Web site, and free Web space just doesn't cut it anymore. Why? For one thing, the major search engines pay little attention to the "personal pages" on most free sites.

What's the solution? Switch to a hosting service, a company that provides high-quality, reliable space for building sites as elaborate as you can imagine. Hosts don't sell dial-up access; all they provide is Web site space. But a quality host can be just the key to creating a Web site that sparkles.

The hosting-service market isn't dominated by big names--hundreds of small companies are all chasing your business, and they vary wildly in what they offer, so consider your needs before choosing a host. Some provide 24-hour telephone support; others provide help via e-mail only. Some allow unlimited hits within the monthly fee; others impose extra fees for heavy traffic. Some restrict e-commerce; others offer extensive support for online retailing.

Prices range across the board as well. Sign-up fees range from nothing to more than $100, and monthly charges vary from under $10 to $130 and more.

How to sort through the maze? Find help at the Ultimate Host ( and Both offer extensive listings and are a huge help in sorting through the options to find the host that precisely meets your needs.

Know The Code

Translating those mysterious e-mail attachments

Do you receive e-mail attachments that you can't open or which reveal only techy gibberish? You need Fastcode32, free software that allows drag-and-drop decoding for the weird files that sometimes accompany e-mail (Mime, UU, XX and BinHex, in wonk speak). Drag an encoded file to Fastcode32 and, shazaam, its visible, readable innards appear on screen. It's a tiny download (54K) but it can save you from big aggravation. Find it at


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