Web Masters

John Danner, founding CEO of NetGravity, shares the story of building the world's first Internet advertising startup.

Show Notes

Unless you’re an Internet history buff, you’ve probably never heard of NetGravity. However, NetGravity is, in some ways, one of the most important startups in Internet history. It was the first Internet advertising company. Considering much of the Internet these days relies on advertising, being the company that started the online advertising industry is… well… kind of a big deal.

The advantage of being first in an important market like Internet advertising is that, in the early days, all the biggest and best customers don't have any other options. That was true for NetGravity. Launched in 1995, NetGravity quickly gobbled up most of the world's most popular Internet companies as their customers, including companies like Yahoo!, Netscape, and Time Warner. NetGravity's explosive growth led to an early entry into the public markets and a rapid rise in valuation.

At the same time, John and the NetGravity team soon found themselves battling competitors who were taking a different -- and more lucrative -- approach to online advertising.

In this episode of Web Masters, hear the full story of how NetGravity defended its position as the market leader, pivoted to stay relevant, and ultimately achieved a successful exit.

For a complete transcript of the episode, click here.

What is Web Masters?

Web Masters is an original podcast that explores the history of the Internet through the stories of some of its most important innovators. In each episode, host Aaron Dinin, a serial entrepreneur and digital media scholar, talks with Internet entrepreneurs who created important websites, tools, services, and features. Some are hugely popular, some you’ve never heard of, and all of them have impacted everything you do online. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at how the Internet has enabled -- and continues to create -- some of the greatest business opportunities in history from the people who have proven they know how to build successful Internet businesses.