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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Is Craigslist Hurting Newspapers?

Todd R. Weiss at Computer World, has a fascinating, December 24, 2007, interview with Craig Alexander Newmark, the founder of the popular San Francisco, California, USA-based Craigslist. Among other things, Newmark was asked:

There have been ongoing concerns and criticisms from the newspaper industry that free online ad sites like Craigslist are eating them alive and drastically reducing their revenues. What's your reaction?

No one in the newspaper industry seriously says that. I've spoken to a lot of publishers, editors and industry analysts. They say that our site does have a small but measurable effect on classified revenues. But they say the bigger problems are those niche-classified sites which go after the more profitable classified categories, specifically cars and jobs. There's Autotrader.com and Monster.com. Newspapers have much bigger problems. Newspapers are going after 10% to 30% profit margins for their businesses and that hurts them more than anything.

Newmark said, "A lot of things are happening on the Internet that never happened before because the Internet is a vehicle for everyone. The mass media is no longer only for the powerful, and that's a huge change for the entire newspaper and news industry," he added.

Reading the interview was like being served a good meal in a top-notch but cozy restaurant.

If you want to read the interview, see "Q&A: Craig Newmark, of 'Craigslist' fame, looks back -- and ahead."

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