Letter from the editor

Alliance & Leicester raised more than a few eyebrows when it announced that it intended to spend some £10 million on online marketing this year. The internet is often seen as a cost-cutting tool by the High Street banks, and most are reaping the rewards of that strategy - even if parts of their branch networks pay a heavy price. So it is good to hear from this month's cover star, A&L's Stephen Leonard, that digital is the best way for the bank to grow its business (see p30). Better still, A&L is backing that thought with some big money.

Leonard is convinced the internet is an excellent channel for driving sales. However, he is less convinced by its brand-building abilities. Plenty will argue that he is underestimating the web's potential, but it is a key point for media owners and agencies to ponder. What will it take to convince businesses like A&L of the brand-building power of the internet?

In this issue of Revolution, we see that the overlap between digital and direct marketing is producing tangible success stories (p36). Elsewhere, we highlight some of the more controversial areas of the digital sector. Pop-up ads are the bane of many users' online existence, as many media-owners have found out. In our regular Usability Report (p49), we look at the need for examining the impact of advertising and marketing initiatives on web site usability.

We explore the issues raised by accessibility standards for sites and ask if accessible sites are user-friendly for everyone. There are business and legal issues, if not moral ones, at stake, so this topic needs to be kept in the spotlight.

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