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saving newspapers, one post at a time

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.


  1. Matt Matt 2008-01-28

    This is one of the big misconceptions in journalism today. Big newspapers are not losing money. They have never had higher profit margins. But as the big newspapers consoldiate and centralize, they are cutting staff. (Canwest just laid off 20 more people at the Gazette, for instance).

    But the small, local papers are hurting, because they depended on classified revenues to keep them going. So I guess what you mean, is *small* newspapers.

  2. Hugh Hugh 2008-01-28

    heh. here i’ve been trying to save newspapers from themselves and they don’t need saving? do you have a URL reference for the profits of newspapers?

    but still, i think franchise, conglomerate papers like the gazette are dead unless they change their approach. we’ll see.

    but yes: small papers, if there are any of them left.

  3. Yoni Greenbaum Yoni Greenbaum 2008-02-01

    I think some newspapers are going after the local dollars you described except instead of developing an ad network, they’re leveraging local search and providing merchants advertising opportunities via their search platform.

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