ARGUABLY TODAY’S FASTEST growing advertising sector is e-commerce, with web companies freneti-cally promoting their brands in the run-up to Christmas and providing traditional media with a fat Christmas box. According to CIA Medianetwork, new e-brands such as, and spent more than £22m on traditional media advertising between August and October. For 1999 as a whole, the 'dotcom' sector is forecast to spend more than £100m in total - virtually tripling last year’s £35m.

Almost seven hundred different ‘dotcom’ brands have advertised in recent months, reports CIA director David Fletcher, who observed: 'We found that there were in fact about seven hundred brands advertising last year too; but it turns out that they were almost a completely different set of names. It seems that the ones who advertised last year have either been successfully established and no longer feel the need to advertise - or they have gone out of business.'

However, spending megabucks on advertising, some analysts argue, is unnecessary when you have a good idea. They cite, which sells unsold items ranging from airline tickets to holidays at discounted prices. Its site, which now receives over 500,000 hits daily, estab-lished itself with virtually no advertising, making millionaires of its founders.