Friday, November 25, 2005

The Oregonian Must Die!

I stopped advertising in The Oregonian Classifieds a couple months ago. They responded by raising the cost of my ads, because now I'm a low volume user. I explained that their circulation is down and their subscribers are getting older (so are we all), but my customers stay the same age (cf Matthew McConaughey in "Dazed and Confused" on high school girls). And the Oregonian competition, especially Craigslist, is cheaper, faster, and better in virtually every way.
The Oregonian is following classic old monopoly behavior. "We don't care because We don't have to." As little as a year ago, advertising in the Oregonian was required business practice for me. About 80% of my business came directly from that advertising. This year, because of Craigslist and my own website, www.bestportlandrentals.com, only 10% of calls were coming from those (expensive) Oregonian ads.
I have to think loss of classifieds to the Web is happening to every regionally dominant newspaper with a weak web presence and (the Oregonian farms out their website, such as it is, to another company). Newspapers with competition are more conscious of losing market share and sometimes even have free ads. Monopoly papers muddle along with blinders thinking all they have to do is churn out enough tons of inky pressed pulp and the dollars will roll along, merrily. But that won't work much longer.
So the Oregonian Must Die! And not just because I want it to.

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