A long time ago (last century, to be exact), banners flourished on the Web. People saw them and clicked. The banner worked. Then, the great banner deluge began. An overabundance of banners caused a downward spiral in CTRs and conversions.

The banner still exists, in different incarnations. It still works, and it's even regaining popularity. Still, some sites stack up banners like pancakes at IHOP. It's as if publishers, desperate for banner revenue, have their own fraternity: Phi Kramma Banner.

E-mail, too, once flourished. People weren't receiving so much e-mail back then. They opened e-mail and read it, they clicked on the links. E-mail worked. Then, the spam floodgates opened. Thanks to an overabundance of e-mail, today e-mail marketers are headed down the same slippery slope as marketers who used banners.

Banners and e-mail are now pretty much in the same boat. Both are recovering. Recovery notwithstanding, getting consumers to respond to both is getting tougher. The commonality can be summed up in one word: clutter.

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