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Christmas Gift Guide
Tech Industry

E-tailers invade Sunday newspapers

Internet giants are turning to the Sunday newspaper of all places to sell products during this year's tough holiday shopping season.

Internet giants are turning to the Sunday newspaper of all places to sell products during this year's tough holiday shopping season.

Sandwiched between the advertising inserts for Macy's and Sears in Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle was a 14-page shopping guide from Amazon.com.

"Relax, Amazon.com makes gift giving easier," the full-color supplement reads.

Books, once Amazon's flagship product, take a backseat to items such as the George Foreman "Champ" grill with bun warmer at $24.99 and Hoover's "WindTunnel" vacuum cleaner at $299.99.

USA Weekend magazine includes an insert from Yahoo Shopping dubbed the "holiday online shopping guide." The Web address shopping.yahoo.com is shown prominently in Yahoo's trademark yellow and purple lettering.

For decades, retailers have depended on the fat newspaper ads that appear just after Thanksgiving to jump-start shopping. Consumers are well trained to read them, too.

Advertising in a Sunday newspaper is decidedly low tech, but e-commerce giants find themselves in a hotly competitive battle with "brick-and-mortar" retailers to lure fickle shoppers this holiday season.

The dot-com ads in print also are a sign that Internet shopping has come of age for many consumers. Amazon's print supplement, for example, doesn't explain how to shop online--it merely makes a vague reference to "1-Click ordering."

Traditional retailers aren't ignoring the Internet, either. Best Buy's 32-page shopping insert painstakingly lists the addresses of its 20 stores in the San Francisco Bay Area but also points customers to its Web site at BestBuy.com.