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New technologies emerge to form a new Internet generation

By Evelyn de Souza
April 24, 2002

The online advertising industry and advertising supported companies have been particularly h ard hit over the last eighteen months. Companies have shut down or consolidated as advertising prices have plummeted. There is more page inventory than advertisers want to purchase and the end result is that we b sites are often forced to reduce prices and show unpaid house ads.

So, is that it? Does it all stop here, or is there something that has come out from all of this? In the wake of the fire that burned down the forest of Internet companies, new technologies have emerged. Are they the green shoots of a new generation of the Internet? A good area to examine is the Internet advertising sector.

The first two generations

The Internet appears to have cycled through three generations. The first generation was in a non-commercial world, full of academics and experts. They shared information and produced content but did not charge for it. In the mid 1990s a new second generation Internet was born. The second-generation Internet became caught up in the unsightly gold rush. This generation of the Internet was characterized by many second-rate technologies, thrown t ogether merely to attract VC financing. Thousands of workers, including many from India moved to Silicon Valley and other technology centers in the US to build them. Companies spent money on parties, PR, and marketing to inform the world about their mediocre technologies, in the hope of getting big fast. However as we all know, the forest of advertising or ad supported dot coms burned, and one b y one they fell: All Advantage, Quokka Sports, March First, and many more. Ad-supported companies were the first to be affected. They consolidated, closed, or changed their business models.

A new Internet generation?

It might be expected that the advertising sector, the first Internet sector to be hit, would show the initial signs of recovery and growth. Theoretically, this new breed of companies, perhaps the third generation of the Internet wou ld be a more savvy, cost conscious and realistic Internet generation. Entrepreneurs would focus on the actual technologies, and not dream of billion dollar IPOs. Companies would build excellent technologies for demanding customers. Throwing up a web site to sell pet food would be considered a thing of the past.

ZEDO, Inc. from San Francisco seems to embody this type of new technology company. The company serves advertising images on web sites. It is similar to a content delivery technology, but they deliver ads for content sites. Interestingly, they are small, but yet have achieved so much. ZEDO employs less than 30 people in just two development offices, yet serves billions of ads a month. Their focus is on ground-breaking, highly scalable technologies, which their customers want and are willing to pay for now. Perhaps, that is what it takes to be a player in this emerging Internet generation: be focus ed on technology and build only what your customer will pay for today!

"ZEDO technology is both a solid, scalable infrastructure and an architecture that is flexib le enough to offer the new features that discerning customers want," said Alfredo Botelho, Chief Technology Officer of ZEDO. "We did not have access to unlimited funds as start-ups once did, so this motivated us to bu ild what customers were willing to pay for ... Our ad serving technology has been built to last the pace of the growing Internet wit hout requiring huge resources".

What do the leaders of the second generation, dot com world think of these companies?

"ZEDO delivers exactly what Internet advertisers and publishers need today -- a scalable ad management system that delivers superior performance at an order-of-magnitude lower cost, enabling it to deliver value to customers while building a profitable and sustainable business." said Larry Braitman, co-founder of Flycast Communications, and an expert on the ad-supported Internet sector.

The ubiquity of the Internet and prevalence of e-Business and online content is shaping the next generation of the Internet. The ultimate goal: a customer-centric environment. This is what the third generation of the Internet is about. Small technology companies with economical, fast, and streamlined solutions for their custom ers will thrive in the new Internet. Glamorous? Maybe not. But, it is shaping the future of the e-Business and content worlds.