Some Big Spenders Won't Shell Out for Web Ads

While it might not be surprising that companies at the top of the Fortune 500 list account for a significant portion of online advertising, new research has found that big advertising spending offline doesn't translate into big expenditures for online ads, though it may be starting to.

According to a new study by AdZone Interactive, the 10 largest online ad spenders of the Fortune 500 accounted for 17 percent of total ad dollars in September. That figure actually exceeds the 12 percent of offline advertising that the top 10 Fortune 500 ad spenders accounted for in the month of August, according to Competitive Media Reporting. The leading companies contributed almost $US855 million out of the $US7 billion spent on offline advertising.

Walt Disney (DIS) was the No. 1 Net ad spender among Fortune 500 companies. Offline, Procter & Gamble (PG) was the No. 1 ad spender in August.

But AdZone's report suggests that big spenders offline often are reluctant to pony up for online advertising. For instance, Wal-Mart, ranked second in the Fortune 500, did not spend a dime on Internet advertising in the month of September, despite spending more than $US30 million in offline advertising in August, according to CMR.

Similarly, Boeing (BA) , ranked No. 10 on the Fortune 500, didn't spend any money on Net ads in September, but paid $US697,000 for offline advertising in August.

Interestingly, the two firms providing this data -- the first to compare online and offline ad spending -- are going head to head in court. Competitive Media Reporting has a lawsuit pending against AdZone Interactive and its founder, John Cardona, the former CEO of CMR Interactive. CMR alleges Cardona violated an agreement that prohibited competition with CMR for six months following the termination of employment. In addition, CMR accuses AdZone of intentional interference with contractual relations with three of CMR's employees.

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