At Last, Some Ad Banner Size Guidance

By: Steve Outing

This week, Web publishers finally got some guidance on a thorny issue that has been hindering Web sites' efforts to get banner advertising. The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Coalition for Advertising Supported Information & Entertainment (CASIE) announced joint recommendations for nine specific, standard banner ad sizes for the Web.

The lack of standard sizes has been a troubling issue, with estimates of more than 250 different ad sizes and shapes being identified on Web sites that accept banner ads. Obviously, this has been troubling to advertisers and their agencies, who must spend time and money resizing ads to fit individual sites. Some less sophisticated sites have gone so far as to take off-size banners from advertisers and shrink them to fit -- a technique that often has dire results. And, some Web ad networks have reported that sites have lost out on ad contracts because they wouldn't accept a particular ad size that an advertiser demanded.

The IAB/CASIE recommendations call for nine Web ad sizes: four rectangular banners, a square banner, three small button size banners, and a vertical banner. These are voluntary guidelines and not "standards," the organizations emphasize. Nevertheless, Web publishers who want the cooperation and goodwill of the advertising community are well advised to adopt these guidelines -- which might mean some redesign work is in order for some Web sites.

Here are the recommended banner ad sizes:
 Pixel size Ad type 468 x 60 Full horizontal banner 460 x 55 Full horizontal banner 392 x 72 Full horizontal banner with vertical navigation bar 234 x 60 Half banner 125 x 125 Square banner 120 x 90 Button 120 x 60 Button 88 x 31 Micro button 120 x 240 Vertical banner

Clickshare set back

A board dispute and the loss of an incoming CEO have set back Clickshare, a Massachusetts-based start-up company that is developing a system for aggregating micro-transactions on the Internet. The company aims to provide publishers with a means to allow Internet customers to purchase content for small sums of money, supported by a central billing and payment system that keeps track of the micro-transactions revenue of publishers. The Clickshare concept has been demonstrated on some beta sites, including the Christian Science Monitor Electronic Edition Web site.

For the last few months, Clickshare had been hunting for a "high-powered" CEO to join the start-up and make it more attractive to investors, and reportedly had lured a worthy candidate. But a dispute among Clickshare's board led to the resignation of several board members and key technical people, and the withdrawal of the incoming CEO.

The drama of the corporate squabble was played out over the last few days on the online-news Internet list, when Felix Kramer, outgoing Clickshare director of marketing and board member, posted a note to the list detailing the company's internal troubles and personnel departures, blaming the break-up on "founderitis." "One co-founder was so committed to his views and so unwilling to relinquish control that everyone else eventually left," Kramer wrote in the public posting.

Co-founder and president Bill Densmore, who remains as chairman and CEO of Clickshare (as well as his other company, Newshare, an Internet content brokerage), says that despite the departure of several key people, Clickshare remains operational, and the company has completed its prototype phase.

Now, Densmore says, "we have to decide with new a board of directors we're putting into place whether we go forward on our own as a free-standing company and build a new technology team to productize Clickshare, or whether we want to merge with another company working in this space, or whether we want to sell the technology to a third party outright. We're taking a look at all of those options."

Contact: Bill Densmore,

Walk on the Sidewalk

It occurs to me that I haven't pointed out that Microsoft's Sidewalk venture, the online entertainment guides that are being developed for cities worldwide, now has a Web site at You'll want to take a look to see what the competition is up to. Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Sydney, and Washington, D.C., are the first cities targeted, with Seattle the first out of the box early in 1997. Microsoft promises to set up Sidewalks in many other cities, and advance teams reportedly are setting up offices and hiring in a number of other second-tier metro areas.

Recent personnel additions to the Sidewalk team include:
* Anne Karalekas, general manager of D.C. Sidewalk; formerly director of marketing of The Washington Post and publisher of The Washington Post Magazine.
* Moya Gollaher, general manager of San Diego Sidewalk; previously ran programming and marketing areas for Cox Communications.
* Doug Henrich, general manager of Twin Cities Sidewalk; a Microsoft veteran of CD-ROM titles, developer magazines and online sites.
* David Fryxell, executive producer of Twin Cities Sidewalk; previously business and technology editor for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and managing editor of TWA Ambassador magazine.
* David Harrington, general manager of Sydney Sidewalk; previously worked for McKinsey and Co. and co-author of the book, "The Clever Country? Australia's Digital Future." Executive producer of Sydney Sidewalk is Horacio Silva, former owner and manager of Media Baby, an Australian syndication agency, and creator of Supermodel and Black+White magazines.
* Bryan Miller, a former restaurant critic for the New York Times, has joined New York Sidewalk as its staff restaurant critic.

(A listing of the management teams of the national Sidewalk and individual city sites can be found at Anyone who doubts the editorial wherewithal of Microsoft to compete with newspaper companies in the local market might be surprised to see the depth of editorial talent that the Sidewalk team is assembling. Newspaper entertainment editors beware: If Sidewalk comes to your city, it is going to have an impact on you.)

E-mail broadcasting: Caveat publisher

The Internet Society recently sent out an e-mail solicitation to former members (of which I am one), asking that we consider renewing our memberships. Unfortunately, the Society didn't configure the mailing list software it used correctly and ended up with egg on its face. When a recipient of the original message replied to it, saying, "Sign me up" or "Forget it," the replies got mirrored to all the recipients of the original list. Needless to say, this flood of "junk" mail angered a lot of people. Some posted comments -- which everyone could see -- saying, "I won't be a member of an Internet organization so inept that it can't even set up a simple e-mail list correctly."

Several days after the incident, the executive director of the Society sent a message of apology to all the original recipients, and announced that the problem was fixed and would not be repeated.

The lesson is obvious: In the world of e-mail publishing, configuration errors can have nasty results. A flood of unintended e-mail delivered to a customer can wipe out months of built-up goodwill and make your organization look incompetent. Caveat e-mail publisher.


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This column is written by Steve Outing exclusively for Editor & Publisher Interactive three days a week. News, tips, and other communications may be sent to Mr. Outing at

The views expressed in the above column do not necessarily represent the views of the Editor & Publisher company


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