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Newspapers will let Yahoo hang them, as long as they can sell them the rope 4/16/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Classified ads, Competition, Yahoo.
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Yahoo today announced new partnerships with newspapers to help the papers sell advertising online. Also, both sides will share local news stories. This builds on top of similar joint agreements in help-wanted ads. Playing this out, it is hard to imagine what is going on in the minds of these newspapers, beyond desperation. Help-wanted and other classified ads have historically represented a significant percentage of newspapers’ revenues, and this is just another formula that shows no promise of getting these dollars back — particularly because news outlets are not necessary or relevant middlemen to put job seekers and recruiters together. Local news may ultimately be the last remaining proprietary property of metro newspapers, and yet they are entering deals to share it. And, any mechanisms that are developed to sell advertising online will ultimately be of most benefit to smaller, niche news outlets who will be competing effectively head-to-head with big outlets in the future. I hope these newspaper chains are being paid handsomely for their rope. Maybe they ought to keep some of it for themselves to make cords for their parachutes.

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