Online Publishers Unite to Replace Banners With Bigger Ads

Web surfers have learned to ignore banner ads. Eye-tracking studies show that most of us don't even look at them. That's why a group of 27 major online publishers including The New York Times, IDG (see disclosure below), Fox News and MSNBC have agreed to test three new ad formats.

Silicon Alley Insider has a report with screenshots of the new formats. One thing you'll notice right away: All are much bigger than traditional banners.

Here's a summary of the three new ad types:

* The Fixed Panel (recommended dimension is 336 wide x 860 tall), which looks naturally embedded into the page layout and scrolls to the top and bottom of the page as a user scrolls.

* The XXL Box (recommended dimension is 468 wide x 648 tall), which has page-turn functionality with video capability.

* The Pushdown (recommended dimension is 970 wide x 418 tall), which opens to display the advertisement and then rolls up to the top of the page.

The publishers, who claim to reach two-thirds of American Internet users, are coordinating their efforts through the Online Publishers Association. A press release by the OPA, which promises "a renaissance of creative advertising on the Internet," says that the group of 27 will each offer at least one of the new units by July 1.

(Disclosure: IDG publishes The Industry Standard. Paul Boutin is a freelance writer for The New York Times.)

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