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wave of online advertising
By Marlet D. Salazar
THE CRISIS that gripped the dotcom business is now history.
The whole idea of e-commerce is now resurrected, and the
way things are going, the Internet will soon come in full
circle to become a dominant medium of information.
INQ7 Interactive Inc. president and chief executive officer
Paolo Prieto believes that the worst of the dotcom crash
is over, and they are now focusing on meeting the challenge
of surviving on their own.
Online advertising is one of the strengths of INQ7 as
the website’s revenues primarily come from local
and foreign advertisers. With this in mind, Prieto made
changes and innovations to take full advantage of it.
“We became more creative in our sales, and more
customer- (reader) oriented now,” he said. “We
want companies to see a lot of advertising opportunities
in our website.”
They also opened a lot of better advertising opportunities
for companies. One of them is giving prominence to advertisers
on the main page as well as in the other pages.
Ramon Lizardo, vice president for business and linkages
said, “Advertising is useless without traffic, that
is, the number of viewers or readers that actually see
the ads or the articles.”
The Philippines’ leading online news portal generates
about 33 million pageviews and one million unique visitors
a month. It caters largely to overseas Filipinos in the
United States (37 percent), followed by readers here in
the country (35 percent), and the remaining comes from
the other parts of the world.
Marketing a website is different from traditional media.
Lizardo said, “INQ7 banked on its mission to help
raise industry awareness and showed advertisers the immense
benefits they can get from online advertising.”
And this is where the branding comes in.
Lizardo explained that another important advantage of
online advertising is its coverage of two important aspects
of marketing. “For INQ7, brand awareness is promoted
effectively through exposure to its huge traffic volume;
but, also, it can be marketed and even actually sold directly
to the end-user since products can be sold and paid for
online. This illustrates how online advertising covers
the best of both worlds of brand awareness and direct
“It is very important
for our advertisers--and readers--to be aware of the impact
INQ7 has,” Prieto said. He feels that the business
sector, so far, is their strong market niche.
Not only does INQ7 have formidable parent companies with
GMA Network and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Its content
also come from several sources which include the Philippine
Daily Inquirer, GMA News and Public Affairs, Cebu Daily
News, Newsbreak, and Agence France— Presse.
However, the website also maintains its own editorial
team which produces its breaking news.
The Internet’s major edge over other media (or businesses
for that matter) is its interactivity.
is easy for an online reader to interact with an ad by
just clicking on it and finding out the details,”
This is slowly being realized by the advertisers and the
readers as well. Lizardo noted that the website’s
revenues are currently at an all-time high. There is an
increasing trend in online ad spending. This development
is starting to spill over to the country as evidenced
by increasing advertising inquiries in INQ7, according
Advertisers have something to look forward to in the coming
years as INQ7 plans to make some layout changes to allow
for more ad spaces without compromising the content and
without cluttering the site.
Aside from getting more aggressive in advertising and
sales, Prieto set more realistic goals and focused on
the revenue targets. “We exercised physical discipline
by cutting costs as much as possible and getting everybody
to pitch in,” Prieto said.
Prieto made changes when he took over the business in
2001. This is also when the critical success factors were
First of which was the long-term organizational viability
of the company.
“Before, we used to think
that our parent companies should always support us,”
Prieto said. “We are happy to say that this year
we are close to breaking even.”
According to Prieto, the biggest change made so far was
making everybody (the team of INQ7) realize the critical
importance of their end goal in terms of financial goals.
“As soon as everybody realize that we have
to work as a team to get to our goals, and we’re
financially stable eventually, then that’s when
they started to see the big picture,” he said.
This year will also see INQ7 jumping in the bandwagon
of wireless technology.
Prieto is very optimistic of the emerging dominance of
the Internet. He cites the whole experience of being able
to get the breaking news stories in real time.
“When you read INQ7, you have the feel of being
in touch with what’s happening around you,”
He believes that the World Wide Web and the information
technology in general is a growing market.
can see a future with people accessing us (INQ7) through
cellphone regularly,” Prieto said.
He also cited, the advantage an Internet business has
over regular business because “we have an industry
that is already growing and is promising to have a bigger
impact on the future.”