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Wired: Online Ads Finally Caught Up to Print

First Issue Was Sales Rep Gift

It's about time. Wired is arguably the very first publication to sell a banner ad on the internet. Back in 1994, almost 20 years ago, they'd hired sales guy out of a San Francisco media shop and packed him around the country to sell 12 online sponsorships to the website for a wildly over-designed new magazine. He did manage to sell those spots, but the magazine quickly became a must-buy for the print advertisers who wished to brag about (or borrow) their cool. Now, they've announced that the online ads have finally reached revenue parity with the print side of the business.

In fairness, it should be noted that the print market hasn't been exactly bulging in recent years, but those same economic pressures have been exerted on the online sphere as well, especially among high-end content publishers.

Wired has gone through a great many diverse corporate strategies over time. It once owned what was briefly the world's most useful search engine, HotBot (still online, now owned by Lycos). Known for its unhomogenized mix of human talent, the individual elements of which it never seemed to be able to retain over time, its alumni have spawned many of the best known web publishing efforts. That the alma mater now makes as much money online as offline may be a comfort to them in their toils.


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