Newspapers are Committing Suicide

I used to advertise in the paper for tenants. but I don’t anymore because Craig’s List is free and the newspaper classifieds don’t work. And why is that? Could it possibly be that Craig’s List is more concerned with meeting the needs of their customers?

The management of newspapers in our country has decided to adopt the policy of King Canute, whose fawning courtiers assured him that the rising tide would obey his commands. Needless to say, he got his feet wet. They refuse to give people what they want, free access to their sites, even though this short-sighted policy is speeding their doom.

Newspaper writers are being betrayed by the lack of imagination of their management, just as American auto workers were betrayed in the 60s and 70s by a management policy of greed and poor quality that has crippled the US auto industry to this day. American cars are finished at 100,000 miles. But don’t ask me. Ask Consumer Reports. Ask Click and Clack.

American automakers insisted that it was impossible to put four-wheel drive on a vehicle without requiring the driver to get out and twist the hubs. Toyota developed a system that allowed the driver to make the adjustment from the driver’s seat and they ate GM’s lunch and put millions of American auto workers out of work because of their bosses’ stupidity.

Same with the newspapers. They can’t make any money because they’re charging people to look at their websites. So the Google spiders can’t go there, so they miss out on EIGHTY PERCENT of their customers.

Their thinking, if you could call it that, is that if they open up their websites, no one will buy the paper. In fact this is idiotic. I’m the editor of an international website and I buy the paper. People who are used to buying the paper will buy the paper. But every obituary will be a customer lost, and newspapers should look to the future.

There’s a classical concert series in Great Britain called “The Proms.” For many years they refused to allow their performances to be broadcast. They reasoned that if the music were available on the radio, no one would come to their concerts. It does sound like reasoning, doesn’t it? It’s not. It is obstinate idiocy.

Faced with bankruptcy, The Proms finally allowed their performances to be broadcast. Now they are sold out every night for three weeks and they are heard all over the world.

Eighty percent of GoNOMAD readers come to our site through Google searches for specific topics or destinations. Then, hopefully, they come to our home page and look at more GoNOMAD stories. If we charged a fee, we’d be doomed, like a lot of idiotic newspapers. Our only hope is to give web readers what they want. Interesting stories. Not too complicated.

Here’s my challenge to US newspapers: If you’ve got talented writers with information that people might be interested in, get rid of the fee which brings you a miniscule return and open your pages to the Google spiders and get the infusion of readers that they will bring you. If you can’t monetize an 80 percent increase in viewers, then you should go back to business school and figure out who moved your cheese.

As for classifieds, make them free, too, and figure out how to monetize the massive infusion of customers. If you can’t do that, take some time to study the ‘new paradigm’ — that would be Google — which gives people all over the world information for free and makes lots and lots of money.

I think we’ll find that newspaper executives will doom their employees to unemployment from an utter lack of imagination. But that’s just an educated guess.