Infolinks’ Interesting, Albeit Inaccurate, History of Ads #Infographic

By December 28, 2011

Love it or hate it, most of us have come to accept advertising’s presence in almost every facet our lives. Infolinks, an online in-text ad network, created the below inforgraphic to show just how omnipresent advertising has become.

Recently published by Mashable, Infolink’s graphic offers some interesting nuggets of knowledge, including the birth of product placement in Jules Verne’s 1873 novel: “Around the World in 80 Days.”  and’s launch of the first banner ad in 1994, with Sprint and Volvo as the inaugural partners.But that’s where this vizualization’s accuracy ends.

As the infographic starts to dive into the more recent history of online advertising, the information starts to get a little wonky (unfortunately, having no expertise in the rest of the timeline, I cannot judge it’s complete accuracy).

For example:

  • YouTube’s launch did not usher in the birth of online video advertising.  MSNBC, Yahoo!, and others began selling video ads in the early 2000s.
  • Facebook wasn’t the first company to offer behavioral targeting based on social interactions. MySpace gets credit for this one.
  • 2008 was not the first instance of in-text ads. Today’s largest in-text providers, Kontera and Vibrant, have been at it since as early as 2003.
  • And while  viral advertising is on the rise, it’s absolutely premature to say it’s overtaken traditional mediums (don’t forget, TV advertising is still an $80 billion a year business).

Despite Infolinks’ bias (if you go to their own posting of the infographic, you’ll see them proclaim that “In-Text advertising is the next generation of advertising”), the timeline is an interesting read and is sure to help you hit your “learn something new everyday” quota.  Enjoy!