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Online Ad Spending to Top 2000 High

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NEW YORK Internet ad spending is expected to rise more than 25 percent this year to $9.1 billion, topping its record high in 2000 by $1 billion, according to eMarketer.

The growth is due in part to what company senior analyst David Hallerman called the "mainstreaming of the Internet.

"It's no longer exceptional," he said. "It's just another medium."

High-speed Internet connections, which are fast replacing narrowband options, have created an "always on" situation where "people drop in and out of the Internet as they do with TV and radio," Hallerman added.

In 2005, online ad spending is expected to increase 23 percent from 2004 to $11.2 billion, eMarketer predicted. The projections are based on aggregated information from a variety of sources, including the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Despite the boosts, the Web will continue to represent a small portion of the overall media pie. It will account for 3.4 percent of total ad spending this year and 4 percent next year, according to eMarketer.

"Large marketers, such as the Toyotas and Campbell Soups of the world, only need to take 1 or 2 percent of their budgets to be a driving force behind those gains," said Hallerman.