Washington Post: Google to Try Selling Advertisements for Newspapers — Google Inc. is expanding its footprint as an advertising broker with a test program that will allow businesses to click to Google and buy ad space in The Washington Post, the New York Times and other papers, sources confirmed last night. NY Times: Newspapers to Test Plan to Sell Ads on Google — The three-month test may open up new revenue to hurting papers, but would risk making Google even stronger.
Here’s what I think: As I wrote over and over when Google was trying out the same model for magazines (it hasn’t worked so far, but one day, I believe Google will figure that market out also), this business model is an old and easy-to-understand role in the publishing industry: it is called “independent sales rep.” If Google finds a way to aggregate advertising and sell it for newspapers (probably, the classified variety) and keep a 20% commission on the transaction, then they can rearrange the market share of advertising sales brokering — and be a threat to some independent and in-house advertising sales folks. But it should only be a net positive for newspapers, who spend that much already in sales-related costs.
Newspapers sure as heck were never going to figure it out on their own.
Scott Karp: Handing the reigns over to Google’s efficient direct response advertising machine will only hasten the realization that the Web is much more efficient than print at driving action and response.
Another from WSJ: Papers Aim to Widen Ad Base With Google — When 50 daily newspapers begin selling their ads through Google’s site this week, they’ll be confronting the Achilles’ heel of their industry: It is too hard for small advertisers to buy ads.