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As with brick and mortar enterprises, market development is an integral part of a firm's e-business presence on the Internet. Companies should consider and evaluate the advantages of advertising online as an extension and component of their corporate growth strategies and as part of their international marketing efforts. Advertising messages often appear on portals or other websites that draw viewers with content (news, information) and services (such as email, chat, forums, etc.). Companies may seek to advertise on search engines that attract high traffic volume (e.g., Yahoo!) or target a specialized demographic (e.g., ivillage ). Some portals sell favorable link positioning or advertising keyed to particular search terms in a user query (e.g., Overture). Companies may also consider using an advertising network that feeds ads to a network of sites, thereby enabling large marketing campaigns (e.g, Doubleclick). (Note that all the websites listed above have been internationalized or have local mirror sites.)
Direct e-mail may be a good way to promote web presence, depending on the market, product, or service. Direct e-mail is an inexpensive way to reach thousands of potential customers. However, several countries have legislation prohibiting or restricting unsolicited commercial email (see the International Telecommunication Union website at www.itu.int/osg/spu/spam/law.html for more information on international spam legislation), and certainly any email must not constitute fraud. The Direct Marketing Association suggests that any email marketing should have:
1. an honest subject line;
2. no forged headers or technological deceptions;
3. the identity of the sender, which includes a "physical" address; and
4. an opt-out that works and is easy to find and easy to use (although note that some countries may specify an opt-in approach. Research spam legislation for the country you are targeting.)
Whether you're targeting domestic or international customers, before choosing direct e-mail as a way to promote web presence, companies should be aware of the potential for backlash against unsolicited e-mails by consumers who feel overwhelmed by the number of such e-mails received.