I wrote a long piece partially about how newspapers might be able to save themselves, a while back.
Here’s another thought: advertising is where newspapers make their money, with local ads and classified making up a big percentage of the dough.
What if newspapers leveraged their existing ad networks, to build a localized advertising platform for local web sites and blogs. [Or if a company built such a system to sell to newspapers, to allow them to implement with little or no technical requirements, or just on their own… and finish off newspapers for good].
I’ve long thought that google adsense is a terrible tool for small websites – the ads are mostly irrelevant; the money insignificant unless you are getting thousands of visits a day.
But if there was a good way to get decent local ads on a more local blog, it would make more sense. Newspapers are well placed to provide that service to blogs.
Most local merchants are probably not savvy enough to recognize the need to be advertising online; so probably this service should be offered free to merchants to start; but with a year of statistics, a newspaper could much better quantify the value of such a proposition.
I wonder if the guys at Praized have thought of this business angle? Seems to me there’s a big space for someone to build a good online ad system for meatspace commerce.
Parag Khannan has a compelling piece in New York Times Magazine about the passing of America’s sole superpower moment, and the new multipolar order, with China and the US vying for a share of the global pie, with EU playing both off against each other in the middle, and cashing the checks:
Robert Kagan famously said that America hails from Mars and Europe from Venus, but in reality, Europe is more like Mercury — carrying a big wallet. The E.U.’s market is the world’s largest, European technologies more and more set the global standard and European countries give the most development assistance. And if America and China fight, the world’s money will be safely invested in European banks. Many Americans scoffed at the introduction of the euro, claiming it was an overreach that would bring the collapse of the European project. Yet today, Persian Gulf oil exporters are diversifying their currency holdings into euros, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has proposed that OPEC no longer price its oil in “worthless” dollars. President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela went on to suggest euros. It doesn’t help that Congress revealed its true protectionist colors by essentially blocking the Dubai ports deal in 2006. With London taking over (again) as the world’s financial capital for stock listing, it’s no surprise that China’s new state investment fund intends to locate its main Western offices there instead of New York. Meanwhile, America’s share of global exchange reserves has dropped to 65 percent. Gisele Bündchen demands to be paid in euros, while Jay-Z drowns in 500 euro notes in a recent video. American soft power seems on the wane even at home.
And Europe’s influence grows at America’s expense. While America fumbles at nation-building, Europe spends its money and political capital on locking peripheral countries into its orbit. Many poor regions of the world have realized that they want the European dream, not the American dream. Africa wants a real African Union like the E.U.; we offer no equivalent. Activists in the Middle East want parliamentary democracy like Europe’s, not American-style presidential strongman rule. Many of the foreign students we shunned after 9/11 are now in London and Berlin: twice as many Chinese study in Europe as in the U.S. We didn’t educate them, so we have no claims on their brains or loyalties as we have in decades past. More broadly, America controls legacy institutions few seem to want — like the International Monetary Fund — while Europe excels at building new and sophisticated ones modeled on itself. The U.S. has a hard time getting its way even when it dominates summit meetings — consider the ill-fated Free Trade Area of the Americas — let alone when it’s not even invited, as with the new East Asian Community, the region’s answer to America’s Apec.
America’s global dominance: our military spending, our share of the global economy and the like. But there are statistics, and there are trends. To really understand how quickly American power is in decline around the world, I’ve spent the past two years traveling in some 40 countries in the five most strategic regions of the planet — the countries of the second world. They are not in the first-world core of the global economy, nor in its third-world periphery. Lying alongside and between the Big Three, second-world countries are the swing states that will determine which of the superpowers has the upper hand for the next generation of geopolitics. From Venezuela to Vietnam and Morocco to Malaysia, the new reality of global affairs is that there is not one way to win allies and influence countries but three: America’s coalition (as in “coalition of the willing”), Europe’s consensus and China’s consultative styles. The geopolitical marketplace will decide which will lead the 21st century.
So, what’s Canada going to do? Should we lobby to join the EU? I don’t know if that’s a good idea, but I bet Quebec would get behind that project!