Google long ago set the bar for ad sales online. Now it's out to do the same in the musty old newspaper business.
The Internet leviathan is launching a program to sell ads in major newspapers across the U.S., starting with a three-month trial with publishers including Hearst, Gannett, the Washington Post Co. and the New York Times Co. It's not looking for revenue right away, but that will change sometime next year when the system gets a formal launch.
Why would Google bother with an aging, long-suffering print business when it so clearly dominates the medium of the moment? The answer just might lie in the annual U.S. outlay of $48 billion on newspaper advertising, according to a New York Times article Monday citing Google's print guy.
Blog community response:
"Is it a good idea? Of course, it is. It is an idea the newspaper industry should have taken on itself 10, no 20 ago. It's not just about the internet. It's about finding ways to serve small local advertisers with self-serve sales and new locally focused products. It's also about finding ways to bring together newspapers into national networks that can sell demographically targeted ads to new marketers."
"Truth be told, Google, isn't looking to do newspapers any favours; it's simply using its brand and clout with advertisers to diversify its advertising 'engine' to markets where it can generate more business - be it newspapers, magazines, radio (dMarc) or the Web."
"Newspapers and other print pubs are going to have to scramble like hell. But at least part of their business--the ads readers enjoy flipping through--should endure, at least for a while."
"I think the issue here for Google really comes down to scale and context. Print advertising is a maddeningly 'human' business, driven by passion, emotion, and gut feeling. I'm not sure that's ever going to go away. Ads for a specific, community driven audience need to be part of a conversation, not an algorithm."
--John Battelle's Searchblog