Opening Soon: A Museum for Banner Ads

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Fans of the maligned banner ad will open next month to celebrate one of the Web's oldest marketing vehicles.

The site's goal is to become a nonprofit destination devoted to exhibiting and recognizing excellence in the creation and use of banner ads.

"A personal love of mine has been graphics. The Internet came along and became another love of mine. So SNX decided to create a repository for banners like the radio or television museums," said Allen Lubow, president of SNX, New York, a software publisher and creator of Bar Code Pro.

An introduction at the site reads: "Never before have the concerted efforts of more talent and energy been devoted to the design of a single advertising vehicle as with the banner ad. Just 468 X 60 pixels, this small rectangle must carry a corporate identity, deliver a message and first and foremost get the viewer to click through."

Lubow said the site will serve as a measuring stick for the evolution of banners.

"As time goes on, the things we looked at as new and repetitive will become antiques. They will become more of an indication of the look and feel of the time they were created in," he said.

The site will consist of 42 galleries segmented by category, such as art, auction and business-to-business. The galleries will be divided into "strategies," such as animation, clickability and the message.

To create interactivity with visitors, banners can be ranked on a scale of one to 10. The most popular banners will be shown to a jury, which will choose the best banner ads in each gallery.

Although the site will launch officially next month, visitors can sign the guest book, review sample galleries and submit works. The interactive rating system, however, is not functional yet. SNX has sent a press release promoting the project and asking for entries. According to Lubow, it has received several hundred submissions.

The site plans to become a nonprofit organization in three years. In the meantime, it is deriving its revenue from (what else?) banner advertising.

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