Online advertising: A history from 1993 to the present day [infographic]

James has a passion for how technologies influence business and has several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

It’s been 20 years this month since the first online advert was sold – and, like a lot of technological journeys, it’s a fascinating look at how far we’ve come.

Anyone who wants to remember what public opinion was of the World Wide Web and the Internet back in 1993 need look no further than this documentary piece which spoke of “the growing phenomenon of Internet”.

Yet it’s an interesting yarn as to how it came about. The first online ad was sold by Global Network Navigator (GNN), a company formed as a subsidy of O’Reilly Media, to a Silicon Valley law firm.

This started the ball rolling for a huge revenue opportunity – although it very nearly didn’t happen. In the embryonic, utopian days of the web, advertising was a no-go, if you take into account NSFNET’s T&Cs which state that “use for commercial activities by for-profit institutions is generally not acceptable”.

Whilst the momentum kept building up, GNN died rather suddenly, having been bought by AOL in June 1995 before being shut down a year later.

Marin Software, the online advertising platform provider, has come up with an infographic detailing the rise and rise of the web ad, from search engine keyword auctions to the rise of social media.

Take a look below (click to enlarge):

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