This is a web based exine due to go live in Jan 2002, check this out, i wrote it People have seen that banner advertising on the web has failed, as Jakob Nielsen said it would. People in larger companies are now scratching their heads, thinking of ways to make money out of this huge thing called the internet. Perhaps they could take some lessons from the way the webs top designers have been promoting their work in the last few months. People are now largely realising that [url removed, login to view], by itself, does not constitute a brand, that that brand has to mean something to people otherwise it will be ignored. The exercises in brand building on the web recently, on an absolute shoestring have developed some of the most groundbreaking advertising ideas since the beginning of the media. Viral may be the new buzzword, and it is catching on that the web IS a community, and that by working through other sites, gains can be made. This, however, does not mean putting a banner on someone elses page (that is so passé) but to actually involve the previous rivals. The web is like nothing before; it is not like the high street or print, where the aim is to attract customers. The aim, ultimately, is to share information and expertise, which is why community sites have flourished. People have realised that although the competition is just a click away, if you provide everything that they do, better, they will have no need to go there. The sites that all have to compete together, like design sites have realised that together they can have a greater voice if they join in the same ventures and embrace in the community of the web. The web where people will develop sites without borrowing concepts, ideas, and scripts from others is breaking down. People might argue that the web is becoming too similar, but people know who the real innovators are, as if the idea is good it is around a good couple of months before someone can copy it without it looking blatant. If you ever tried to copy praystation, Josh Davis would be the one believed by the masses. Its not just strategies that are changing, either, The whole way people view advertising is. Again, while everything was a competition, now groups are set up to showcase new talent, provide their own, and allow talent to flourish in the greatest art gallery known to man. Sites like k10k and linkdup provide the inspiration for many on a daily basis, and the motivation for many. Hype, however, the domain of the real world advertising is beginning to emerge as a viable alternative to the our sites the best model, but in a different way. In the real world, people still hype things as the best, but net users have become wary of hyperbole as the voice of the mediocre to hide their lack of talent. Therefore the bright flashy banner ads, and corporate babble of the past have been ignored in favour of true kick ass design and community. Community, what the internet, has been since the very first bulletin board or email was sent, has been largely ignored in the rush to find solutions to the problem of how to raise awareness of a brand on the web when it is so difficult to surround people with it like in the real world. In the real world, you put a billboard on a motorway that has a reputation for moving relatively slowly. Thousands of people will be exposed to your message in a small period of time, for a small amount of money. However, on the web, supposing banner ads are ignored, the only time someone can be exposed to your message is when they visit your site, or offline. However, larger companies have realised this and have flooded the offline market with ads for offline products. The increasing wave of bankruptcies in these upstart firms backed by foolish VC money will tell you that this didnt work. E-business had failed to boom and the internet was seen as dangerous to money-makers. This caused problems within the design industry as the clients who had all wanted an online presence so recently, saw the Internet as a fast ticket to bankruptcy, pulled the plug, and the larger design firms crumbled. Not that this affected the people who werent in it for the money of course, as they quietly plugged away. However, they too realised the need to raise awareness, but had seen from the bankrupting antics of the moneymakers that they could not approach the problem from the same angle. So rather than coldly entering the Internet market with the sole ideal of making money, and raising awareness from a budgetary perspective, they could raise awareness in other means. These are the same people who worked and produced fantastic work for the corporate, so with their imaginations not restricted by a brief, they al could go far. However, the problem of awareness would not simply be solved by providing great design, as there are simply too many sites for you to notice a new one. Therefore they learnt to embrace the webs spirit of community. Not simply by spamming their site on message boards, mind, as people have come to ignore these aswell. The real innovators are innovating in ways that it would be too blatant to copy (one of the great problems of the web) Hence, you have the May 1st Reboot, a huge global venture organised by [url removed, login to view], where hundreds of webmasters simultaneously relaunched their sites. It didnt really matter that some of the sites still had bugs in, or had been rushed to their deadlines, there was a new web, with effectively new sites, and it captured peoples imagination. From a practical point of view, it also provided exposure to the smallest designer who would be relaunching alongside GmuNK, and allows them to get noticed. And while GMUNKs site may have received more exposure from relauching, this would have been far more gradual as people caught on that the site had been redesigned, and gradually began to visit it. And while it will have played havoc with his bandwidth, Im sure that GMUNK is ultimately glad that he took part in the project as it will have raised its profile and reached a new audience that may have never even heard of him before. The newest venture may not be as high profile, but it has captured peoples imaginations nonetheless. Dubbed the deboot, it is where a number of designers have shut down their sites completely for the summer, so that people who have depended on them begin to miss them, so they can all relaunch without general fear of reprisal from their core fans as they will be happy to see any version return, and so content wont suffer as a result of the redesign. It also gives the owners a chance to recharge their batteries for a period of time with people knowing that the site hasnt disappeared for good, so it doesnt disappear from the faourites. Also, it gives the design community impetus as they realise that if they want to do something like this and not have their site fall off the map. The methods of raising awareness are constantly changing, far more than in the real world, but in times of hardship the likes of which the net has just come through, new measures will come through, and with bandwidth increasing, these methods will be better for the end user. Its an exciting time to be a designer. if you like this, join us!