Internet advertising is recovering fast from its steep decline in 2002 when it plummetted 25% to $6 billion (€5.35bn; £3.77bn) from its $8bn alltime high in 2000.

Having stabilized after that freefall, adspend in 2003 is already 12.2% up year-on-year and (predicts a study by internet research and analysis specialist eMarketer) is set to continue its steady recovery through to 2006 when it is expected to hit or surpass its previous record.

The report is based on information from numerous independent sources, aggregating data from hundreds of third party research organizations. One source cited in the report is that of the Online Publishers Association whose bigtime multimedia members achieved an average uplift in ad revenues of 40.7% during Q1 2003.

But the OPA’s ceo Michael Zimbalist remains cautions: “We've come a long way, but we've got a long way to go,” he warns. The main reason for this upsurge, he suggests, is because the web has become an integral part of consumers’ lives. OPA members include such bluechips as Cox Enterprises, ESPN Forbes, Hearst Publications, MSNBC and The New York Times Company.

Among the main drivers for the leap in revenues, Zimbalist believes, are search engine-based advertising [WAMN: 15-Jul and 16-Jul-03] and broadband connectivity.

Interactive Advertising Bureau ceo Greg Stuart endorses eMarketing’s view that the internet is making a major comeback. “But the hype is gone,” he opines. “The online phase of over-exuberance from public and private sectors has worked its way through the system. Now marketers are making fact-based decisions.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff