Saturday, May 17, 2008

Craig Newmark is Not Destroying Newspapers

Don't blame Craig. It's not his fault.

-Dave Morgan, Online Spin columnist and founder of the Tacoda advertising network

In Dave Morgan, "Don't Blame Craig," Online Spin, March 15, 2008

Newspaper executives have taken to blame Craig Newmark, the founder of the Craigslist online classified service, which is mostly free, for the wrecking their classified advertising business and, by extension, their profit margins. The issue, Morgan notes, is not that simple. "In my view, Craig and his list may be emblematic of U.S/ newspapers’ problems, but it is not a cause and effect relationship. In the end, the problem for newspaper companies is that their businesses and business models are not well-designed for a world where the vast majority of consumers (their readers) and marketers (their advertisers) are connected to a robust, Internet Protocol (IP)- enabled communications network. IP and business model issues are the demons here, not Craig." Morgan then proceeds to offer and explain four reasons: the internet enables low-cost business models (which can trump newspapers), analog business models (like newspapers) have problems, marketing is changing (in ways that disadvantage papers), and it's all about me (the consumer, who wants the kind of customization newspapers cannot offer) . Each of these, he argues, means that newspapers will have a lot of changing to do to survive.

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