Forty-nine percent of the 250 largest newspapers in the United States now sell help-wanted ads that appear only on the paper's Web site, according to a study by media research company Corzen. That's a 32 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2002, the study said.
Kip Cassino, Corzen's vice president of research, attributed the increase to economic factors unrelated to the Internet and competition with online providers such as Yahoo's HotJobs, TMP Worldwide's Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com, which is jointly owned by Gannett, Tribune Company and Knight Ridder.
"They're afraid of losing their ads to online competitors," Cassino said in an interview.
Want ads, classifieds and, to an extent, personals, generate a significant amount of revenue for newspapers. However, Web sites have targeted this revenue for their own businesses, hoping their visitors will pay a subscription or additional fees to sell their wares, to find a date or to land a job.
Meanwhile, newspapers have watched their listings businesses decline over the past few years also because of online competition and economic factors. Between 2001 and 2002, newspapers witnessed a 35 percent drop in want-ad revenue, Cassino said, though it's unclear how great a role online ads played in the decline.
Corzen considers the help-wanted advertising business a $6 billion industry.