Posted September 16, 2008 11:10 am by with 1 comment

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I have written about newspapers here in the past and how they are rapidly heading toward obsolescence (in their current state at least). I am not changing my stance one bit because I still think it’s hard to ignore the signs and signals that it is a dying industry unless it truly adapts to the internet. To this point there have been successes but it appears as if the major players with the deep pockets are the ones that will brave the storm best. As for the local stuff? It’s anyone’s guess. I personally never visit the website of the Raleigh News and Observer which is the local paper here. What’s the point? It really adds no value so I am not going to waste my time. Well, now it appears that the fear of the big, mean Google / Yahoo! proposed partnership “monster” is making newspapers around the world unite and look even more pitiful than they already do.

According to a brief article in the WSJ, the World Association of Newspapers is afraid of the impending Yahoo! and Google ad deal. Since the group is HQ’d in Paris I am not surprised by the tenor of the group’s concern. In other words, it sounds like a bunch of whiners getting together to say that since they have not been smart or aggressive enough to take matters into their own hands.

The funniest thing about this whole complaint by this group that represents 18,000 newspapers is that the proposed deal would “reduce the cost of paid search ads and lower revenues for newspapers’ and others’ Web sites, which receive payments from the online giants.” Did I read that right?! They are trying to tell Google and Yahoo! that since they (the papers) can’t sell enough ads on their own and people are clicking on 3rd party ads for what they really want, that the provider of the third party ads can’t determine the price point? I don’t know how the free market plays in the EU but this is ridiculous.

They don’t mention the fact that more advertisers may have a chance to utilize this system because of cost reductions which makes the system even better for the end user who is actually buying the stuff that is advertised! In my opinion, if boatloads of newspapers started doing Lehman Corp. imitations in rapid succession (read: go out of business) it can’t happen soon enough. This kind of “protest” is the business equivalent of having a hissy fit. Maybe of the World Association of Newspapers drops to the floor and holds their breath long enough we would care. Well, I feel pretty confident that we would all do just fine if newspapers went the way of the condor (that’s extinction).  To add to the sheer pathetic nature of the complaint they feel that the partnership would give Google “unwarranted” market power. Wah! Wah!Wah! Heck, my two year old acts better than these guys.

It’s Google and Yahoo’s contention, in fact, that this deal only affects North America only but the world group says European papers would be affected as well. One refreshing note is the fact that at least the Newspaper Association of America, which is a member of this World Association of Cry Babies, said that its board hasn’t taken a position on the partnership. They’ll probably wait until the US Justice Department makes its move then start the whining stateside.

All I have to say is if the price of paid search ads goes down then the free market is working. Stop complaining and just get better at doing your business! Thanks for letting me rant…I feel better now.