Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Media The Almighty Buck

How Craigslist Costs Newspapers Money 480

Allnighterking writes "Well you knew it would happen, Now that eBay has purchased 25% of craigslist, the news is out and suddenly newspapers are claiming that it's costing them money (50-65 million U.S. dollars a year). The original Slashdot coverage is here."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How Craigslist Costs Newspapers Money

Comments Filter:
  • craigslist? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    craigslist? ...
    • Re:craigslist? (Score:4, Informative)

      by pdxmac ( 460696 ) * <> on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:04AM (#11196981)
      Fair enough. Not much info in the summary. One could read the article(s), of course. Or, one could, on a whim, type and see what pops up...

      If you're too lazy for that:
      Massive online classified ads/community website. Organized based on metropolitan region. Most postings are free. Help Wanted postings in (I think) SF, LA, and NY are the only ones that cost money.
    • Wikipedia (Score:3, Informative)

      by AndreyF ( 701606 )
      CraigsList []:

      craigslist is a highly popular network of urban online communities, featuring free classified advertisements (with employment, housing, personals, for sale/wanted, services, community, events, gigs and resumes categories) and forums sorted by various topics. It was founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark for the San Francisco Bay Area and was incorporated in 1999, as a for-profit company with social goals. After incorporation, it expanded into nine more cities in 2000, four each in 2001 and 2002, four
  • by BrynM ( 217883 ) * on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:02AM (#11196971) Homepage Journal
    Anyone else find it ironic that this is being reported by Internet Week [] - an online magazine that has no print version? Maybe it's time the papers realize that re-printing their content online and requiring everything down to maternal shoe size for access is not a great business model. If some large paper, say in a big city like... um... New York had beaten Craigs to the punch or tried to compete in a similar manner instead of being stagnant in a dynamic medium, this wouldn't be a problem. I guess the old way didn't translate very well into a new medium.

    Oh.. and Go Josh! Woohoo! Congrats!

    • by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:44AM (#11197211) Homepage Journal
      Internetweek used to be a print paper, before the costs (and low subscription numbers) forced them to ditch the dead-tree version.
    • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @01:40AM (#11197424)

      The real irony is that Craigslist tends to be, like Ebay (which was responsible for 3/4 of ALL internet fraud complaints), something you have to approach EXTREMELY carefully.

      People on Craigslist tend to be really flaky- we're talking the stoned kind of flaky, or the "I'm going to try and cheat you because I think I'm clever" kind of flaky; I'm not sure which is worse. Then there are all the wierdos posting in the various personals section- if you want a great laugh (no matter your gender), read those sections; makes you think of someone walking into McDonalds with $2 and expecting a rare Filet Mignon with sauteed mushrooms. Or the ever popular "I'm hot. Send a picture. Sexiest one wins." I laughed for about 5 minutes so hard I couldn't breathe, and resolved never to look in w4m again because it was dangerous to my health, even if it was a fantastic laugh.

      Top problem though, is that people are complete IDIOTS when it comes to listing their items. "Printer. Best offer." Inkjet? Laser? Dot matrix? Made this decade? God forbid they tell us what company made it. I also love it when useless, worthless stuff is offered up- like cheapo computer speakers. People, I'm all for the recycling bit, but take that shit to the RECYCLING CENTER, don't waste anyone's time putting it up for sale for $5. Round trip subway fare costs at least half that...

      The hysterical bit is that Craiglist supposedly has an "advisory committee" that handles how the site is presented to users. When I complained that even basic instructions were never shown to users as part of the posting procedure and it was clear there was a problem, Craig just replied, "thanks, the committee will think about it".

      Then there are the people who post the "free" iPod/plasma/whatever emails (which are usually flagged by the community)...the problem is that there's nothing to keep them from posting over and over, because (to my knowledge) there is no automatic blacklist after X number of posts spamming is pretty easy.

      Then there are the ripoffs. Go read your city's /sys/ for a few minutes, and see how many times you say "WHAT?!" people asking $500 for a Pentium 3 system. Go read /ele/ and see how many times you see "Theater Research" speakers being offered for $500; the more honest (or naive) ones admit to buying it from some guys in a white van...the others just think "oh well, I'll get some other sucker to buy 'em".

      Classic example of the try-to-sucker-you-by-omission-and-feined-ignorance approach was a Phaser printer being offered for sale for a few hundred $ with no mention of WHY nobody uses wax printers anymore. In short- you MUST cover your ass like crazy. If it's too good to be true, it most certainly is someone trying to sucker you.

      Typical, but when you consider it against Craig's motivations (community building and other crunchy-granola-ness), Craigslist has ultimately been a pretty spectacular failure. I used to report at least 5-6 posts a day to the abuse department for various reasons (all were accepted, and the abuse group IS very nice; they ALWAYS write you back! To the CL abuse staff, you have my sympathies and admiration), and I just got tired of was like throwing a sandbag into a levee break and watching it disappear.

      I also have a policy now, which I inform sellers of upfront. If the item is different from how it was represented in the post or follow-up emails, both of which I will have with me, I walk out the door- this is after several sellers presented something that was nothing like what they described (like a PC missing half its ram, being sold by a software programmer who played dumb. Riight).

      • by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @02:15AM (#11197554)
        like cheapo computer speakers. People, I'm all for the recycling bit, but take that shit to the RECYCLING CENTER, don't waste anyone's time putting it up for sale for $5. Round trip subway fare costs at least half that...

        I think that freecycle [] deserves a mention to help people dispose of stuff that has too little monetary value to hassle a price with it, but yet want to keep it out of the dumpster. Also, it is helping people out.
      • by caferace ( 442 )
        See, back in thr dawn of Interweb time, when you were 6 or so?

        Craigslist was (and is) still a valuable resource in every city it is in, but only as much as any semi-over-populated online resource is. While I'm not disagreeing with you (to some extent), I will disagree with the general tone of your post.

        If you are smart enough to pass over the cruft and farkle, you will find the gems. If you aren't, you'll be lost in the backwash of the 'Net, just like the rest.

      • Sorry, not the case (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cnewmark ( 45916 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @02:32AM (#11197618) Homepage
        We have problems, all right, but we find that the vast majority of folks are trustworthy, and solid.

        We get a lot of feedback everyday, to that effect.

        Also, we have no "advisory committee". I do have a real good customer service team, of which I'm a part. (I demoted myself from management some time ago.)

        Feel free to consider what we're doing a failure, however, I'd guess there's about twenty million others who have a different opinion.

        • by Grendel Drago ( 41496 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @02:57AM (#11197687) Homepage
          Man posts large, bitter critique of extremely popular website.

          Founder of said website responds. Responds! In a day and age when most companies' sites don't have a feedback mechanism of any kind, Craig is lurking around Slashdot. Of course, his response is a bland corporate "well, we still have customers left, so we can't be doing anything wrong" (spent a little too much time in management before 'demoting yourself', eh?), but he responded.

          I think I may have a warm fuzzy.

          --grendel drago
          • by cnewmark ( 45916 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @03:06AM (#11197713) Homepage
            I didn't enjoy someone misrepresenting what I said.

            The deal is that we work on continuous improvement, and obsess about customer service. That's what I'm focusing on at the moment, trying to shut down a coupla spammers targeting our posters; also, dealing with some bickering in our discussion boards, and working with badly behaving apartment brokers in NY. (That's my biggest single project, and it looks like we've had some luck getting them to avoid sleazy behavior... but this will take me personally another year or two.)

            I'm tired, and want to get back to Quicksilver, and wondering if I'm smart to try out Xandros.

        • by ruprechtjones ( 545762 ) <> on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @05:05AM (#11198013) Homepage
          Craig, here is my personal thanks.

          I've scored two long-term job contracts. I've made two new female friends (no w4m stuff, don't trust it). Sold my keyboard, and my Mac laptop, bought 120 DVDs, bought a freezer, sold my Gameboy SP, and made new friends in West Seattle. Bought an Aerostar van, hooked up with a new film agency, and argued with people in L.A. about the film industry in general.

          So I say to the Seattle Times and the Seattle P.I.: goodbye. Good riddance.

    • " Anyone else find it ironic that this is being reported by Internet Week [] - an online magazine that has no print version?"

      Actually, it's very appropriate, which is almost to say it's the opposite of ironic. A story about the New Media taking over is reported by the New Media. Not ironic at all.

  • Cry me a river. Out with the old, in with the new.
    • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:10AM (#11197029) Homepage Journal
      I think what really pisses off the newspapers is that Craigslist doesn't even charge for most of its services. They originally didn't charge for any ("we're not a commercial operation!") but finally conceded that they needed some cash flow, and started charging San Francisco area employers for job listings. (Job listings in other areas are still free.) Obviously eBay grabbed that stake in them with the hopes of getting them to realize more of their cash potential. But unless they can find another former employee to buy out, that's not gonna happen.
      • I wouldn't be surprised if eBay expands the charges for job listings to other neighborhoods. But if they start charging for too many other services, I suspect they're going to find competitors popping up all over the place.
    • Seriously .... it's the newspaper's inability to adapt to free information model that's causing them to loose money. If craigslist didn't start doing it, it'd be someone else, though perhaps less iconoclasticly non-commercial.

      The partisan rhetoric of "Craigslist costs the newspapers money" is just silly. With every significant innovation, some economic model/methodolgy will get the shaft. It's not them, it's you.

    • True. Something I've been wondering a lot about lately is why phone companies still print out the white pages and give them to all their customers. Just imagine how much they'd save if they stopped. How often do you actually use the white pages? Now days that info can be had online anyways if you really need it. Maybe they should stop the white pages and cut our rates a little.
  • With as connected a population as we have, I am suprised the numbers are not higher.
  • by tupshin ( 5777 ) <> on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:04AM (#11196983) Homepage
    A recent study shows that craigslist has directly saved consumers 50-65 million dollars in advertising costs, and many more 10s of millions of dollars indirectly by enabling direct human-to-human transactions with a minimal effort.

    Hmm...this Internet thing seems to be a disruptive technology...whoda thunk it.
    • Hmm...this Internet thing seems to be a disruptive technology...whoda thunk it.
      Al Gore.
    • by SYFer ( 617415 ) * <> on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:57AM (#11197256) Homepage
      It is indeed a disruptive technology. Craig's has really turned the corner here in SF. I can honestly say that virtually everyone here knows of it (even non-internet demographic types) and it is the first thing mentioned in casual conversation (i.e., "why don't you put it on Craig's" instead of "why don't you run an ad"). The culture here has truly changed.

      It's not complete however, papers still get that new-car dealer business and all the entertainment and retail display advertising--the stuff that ambushes you. The Craig's model only really works for used goods, jobs and personals--the things people look for specifically.

      There will always be a place for ads that ride on the coattails of good content and papers still do this effectively. And you just can't read "the paper" on BART online as easily as you can read it analog style. In fact, I think the newspaper model may even prove more resilient than the TV 30-second spot which is seriously threatened by DVRs and is going through spasms already.
  • by panxerox ( 575545 ) *
    newspapers, tv's gonna kill the newspapers, the internet is gonna kill newspapers now its one little corner of the internet is gonna kill the newspapers. They have done ok so far they have changed they have adapted just like the rest of us. Just as long as they dont try to patent the "Idea" of classifieds (newsprint is kinda like software right?).
  • ever since it went online. I even sent them a note saying as much when I cancelled my subscription.
    • Same here. I told my paper why would I pay to have a paper delivered each day that had news from yesterday when I could hop online and get more up-to-the-minute news. Plus, I have found that the Atlanta Journal Constitution is pretty weak on reporters; compared to other cities their news reporting isn't very good.
  • So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drdanny_orig ( 585847 ) * on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:06AM (#11196999)
    This is kinda "dog bites man" ain't it?
  • ebay... beh (Score:5, Funny)

    by RealBeanDip ( 26604 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:06AM (#11197000)
    "now that eBay has purchased 25% of craigslist"

    Must of got caught up in the heat of the auction, I heard they only wanted 20%.
  • That's how it is out there in the "real world". These papers should expand their online offerings. Or make something better that competes with Craigslist. Maybe a networked classified system for a whole metro area across all newspapers. But that'll never happen, since that would require cooperation.
  • to jump on the RIAA/MPAA/AAA/*AA bandwagon and claim that the internet is ruining traditional sales? How are they calculating these numbers? Are they saying that these are lost sales from would-be listers? Hmph....

    Ive seen plenty of papers with their own online classifieds...I cant see how theyd lose so much anyway. Its pretty easy to grab a newspaper/SuperShopper/free local classified-crap paper and hunt for what youre looking for. Ive had mixed success with Craigslist....YMMV

    • Craigslist has the whole user community thing going for it. Meanwhile, most newspapers require registration or even subscription to view information online, and only put a paltry subset of their classifieds online, often at ridiculous add-in fees for ad placers.

      In otherwords, traditional major newspapers pretty much go out of their way to chase away online business to more online-friendly sites.

      Its not suprising they're losing business, and good, they've done a rotten job of adapting to the net, making a
  • by confusion ( 14388 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:09AM (#11197025) Homepage
    Yet another example of fundamental changes happening to some market segment, and the displaced groups crying. How many times have we seen this?

    I can't wait for the NPIA (news paper industry association - there has to be one, right?) to start kicking in doors with the FBI trying to quash the rouge, free exchange of want-ads.

    Jerry []

    • I found a different link on Ars Technica, which linked to the original study.

      Although the article laments the loss of revenue, the study is for sale, and suggests it will teach its buyers how to cope.

      What little I saw, had a rather pithy "adapt or die" admonition. It also listed four or five competitors to Craigslist, and suggested it saw holes in the Craigslist business, which offers opportunities....

      Of course, the purpose of any press release is the sale of material, and here I am pitching it. :-(


    • I can't wait for the NPIA (news paper industry association - there has to be one, right?)

      That would be the NPAA, remember these groups are all associations, or more poetically they are the collective Ass. of America.
  • by lousyd ( 459028 )
    There's nothing I've put on craigslist that I would have put in a newspaper. How could they be losing money?
  • by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:11AM (#11197039) Homepage

    What a bizarre way of looking at it. IMO a better way to look at it is "newspapers no longer extorting $65 million per year from local residents". Or "$65 million once wasted on newspaper classifieds now available for health, education, other productive uses".

    Rather than Craigslist costing newspapers $65 million per year, I think the newspapers have been costing the local residents $65 million per year. Hooray for Craigslist. Boo to the newspapers.

    • I was just thinking the same thing. The headline should read "Craigslist saves San Franciscans $65 million a year".

      Then we can run another article "E-mail costs the US post office $230,000,000 in revenue per year. Bill 602P proposed []."

    • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @01:08AM (#11197306) Homepage Journal
      In BigCompanyLand(R)(c)(tm), everyone wants to give BigCompany(R)(c)(tm) all of their money, all the time, and only the dastardly efforts of a small group of malcontent record pirates, communist open source developers, and smelly hippie web site operators are preventing this happy outcome. Thus every shared file, every download of a F/OSS app, and every posting on a free web site represents direct theft from the mouths of the hungry children of BigCompany(R)(c)(tm)'s shareholders, and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, as administered by LawCorp(R)(c)(tm), a wholly owned and operate subsidiary of BigCompany(R)(c)(tm).

      Hope this clears things up.
    • by ComputerSlicer23 ( 516509 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @02:41AM (#11197640)
      First off, let me say this:

      You are correct mostly. Your usage of the word "extorting" is over the top, other then that, I'll mostly concede. No one extorted the money from the people. They willing showed up to participate because they felt it was a good value to them. There we no threats on behalf of the paper to publish a persons secrets if they failed to buy enough classified add space. That would be something that starts to close in on extortion by the paper.

      However, the newspaper is looking at it correctly from their perspective also. I believe this some what analogous to "opportunity cost" in economics. "Opportunity Cost" in economics is roughly, "I did this instead of that". Think of it this way: In 1965 I invested $2K in a Ford Mustang, instead of investing it in Berkshire Hathaway stock. The Ford Mustang probably has a street value of $50K as a collectible (you should discuss the maintience and storage costs at which point a Mustang is probably a big loss, especially once inflation is accounted for). My guess is that Berkshire Hathaway stock would be worth $~10M. So purchasing the Ford Mustang cost you $(~10M - $50K). If you feel that owning the Ford Mustang over the years had more value to you then having the ~10M dollars in assests today, then purchasing the '65 Mustang was smart. If not, then purchasing the Mustang was a bad investment relative to the Berkshire stock. One important not is their is an opportunity cost either way: one is "I didn't own a really cool car for the last 39 years", the other is "I don't have a 10M assest", the trick is figuring out which one is more valueable to you. Normally, your opportunity cost will involve some type of risk.

      You use opportunity cost, and marginal cost (marginal cost is essentially: what is the difference between making Y widgets and Y + 1 widgets) analysis when attempting to come up with the optimal allocation of capital to earn the largest profit. Somewhere along the way, you should include risk in there, but I'm already explaining way too much basic economics in this post. (You use marginal cost to at some point decide when you'd just take $2K to buy the Mustang even if it costs you $10M in assests in 40 years, if I had $200K to invest in 1965, I wouldn't be too upset if I made billions and had a cool car instead of having slightly more billions and walking).

      So in that context Craigslist has an opportunity cost on the order of ~65M to various newspapers (it would have been profitable for them to do something that costs less then ~65M to get the business they lost to Craigslist). However, in this case, I'm guessing that the opportunity cost, the marginal cost and the risk probably dictate that the economically smart thing to do was take the ~65M "loss". It would have cost too much money, and tied up too much capital to earn the ~65M in revenue.

      This is similar in concept to the advertising agency I read about once. They cut in half their customer base, and doubled their profits (they used to have $30M in revenue, and made $1.5M in profit, they "fired" half of their customers and brought in $12M in revenue, and made $2.5M in profit). Essentially, some revenue "costs" more then others to earn (in this case the marginal benefit of bringing on the additional $18M in revenue, cost the $1M in profit. Ouch!). This is an example of the type of thinking you have to do from an economic perspective to maximize profitability.

      I'm not saying the newspaper should make it show up on their P and L, but I am saying, it is the proper frame of reference when discussing what to do about it. If they have a plan that costs ~1M and would get them back ~5M of that, they should consider it (however, if they have an alternative plan for ~1M that would earn them ~7M, they should do that, as not doing it has an opportunity cost of ~2M). If it would cost them ~50M to get ~30M of that revenue back, they shouldn't do it. It's all about revenue, and how much capital it took to generate that revenue (more commonly known as the profit margin). It was probably wrong to call it a loss, but you can't expect the average 8th grader to understand the headline a more accurate headline.


  • by jlaxson ( 580785 ) * <jlaxson&mac,com> on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:11AM (#11197040) Journal
    Newspapers aren't trying to sue the smitherines out of Craigslist.
  • Bah (Score:5, Funny)

    by 44BSD ( 701309 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:12AM (#11197049)
    Any paper seriously threatened by Craigslist would have gone out of business thanks to the invention of toilet paper.
  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:12AM (#11197051) Homepage
    When I spend my money on your competition, it doesn't COST you money. You don't LOSE money when I don't give you MY money. You just don't GAIN money. Just because you USED to get my money doesn't mean you'll ALWAYS be able to count on getting that money. What part of "Past performance not indicative of future results" is so hard for you to understand?
    • Corporations seem to feel wayyyy too entitled to our money nowadays.
    • There appears to be some sort of unwritten rule that you can never decrease income. If faced with a decrease in income the only alternative is to dissolve...

      Think about it... All these companies who lay off 200 workers out of the 5000 or so they may have on hand would never even think about reducing the salaries of all of the workers to reduce costs. They'd rather lay off 200 than reduce salaries. Of course, that could also have to do with only 200 people complaining rather than all 5000...
    • When I spend my money on your competition, it doesn't COST you money.

      Comrad, do I detect a subversive thought here?

      Microsoft is Losing Money due to Linux and
      The RIAA is Losing Money due to fewer people buying CD's.
      When you skip television commercials, you are stealing.

      Don't you get it? Not spending money in the way that our God given Corporations want you to endangers the very fabric of upper society. All RightThinking(tm) people understand this; or, are at least too busy consum
    • Linguistic feedback (Score:3, Informative)

      by Snaller ( 147050 )
      Perhaps their educations also told them that "lose" can mean:

      "to fail to keep, sustain, or maintain"
  • by waterwheel ( 599833 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:12AM (#11197052) Homepage

    This is all good news. It costs me like $400+ to put a tiny job classifieds ad in the local daily paper. What a ripoff - more than many small shops can afford. Craigslist is what - $75? It's called competition, and the print papers need a healthy dose of it.

    The other other reason Craiglist does well is they produce results. I've used other online services to source out staff and contractors and gotten nothing but garbage. The two postings I've put on Craigslist in the past month have netted me numerous qualifed and experienced candidates.

  • this always happens (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:14AM (#11197065)
    The Internet pure play always beats the hybrid bricks + e-business because it has a clear strategy. The newspapers can't figure out how to continue to make money on their print editions if they give away the store online, so the on-line content and classifieds are almost never as complete, attractive, or interactive as they could be.

    The WP had the right idea, by buying an existing Internet brand (Slate). I think the newspapers are better off buying into fledgeling Internet content sites than trying to start their own. And they need to provide at least nationwide coverage for classified ads.
  • by slungsolow ( 722380 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:16AM (#11197074) Homepage
    Ever since my apartment complex (cheap 'ghetto' area of arlington, va, or at least the closest you get to a ghetto in arlington) advertised its apartments on CL they have been getting some young, attractive, american females.

    I no longer have to ask "hablo ingles" when someone is stealing my socks in the laundry room!!.
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:16AM (#11197077)
    No wonder the newspapers are losing money... have you seen how small the comic stripe panels are? Sheesh...
  • I find it annoying that some established businesses seem to view the continued patronage of their customers as an entitlement, even in the face of better, cheaper alternatives. It's not "costing [the business] money," it's consumers exercising the prerogative to which a free market entitles them. Instead of whining about lost revenue, perhaps these industries could adapt to the changing market, as they're supposed to in a capitalist system (*cough* RIAA *cough*).
  • Hm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kaitou ( 789825 ) <> on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:20AM (#11197110) Homepage
    Thats rather sad really. They are claiming lost profit as if it is the fault of craiglist, not just them loosing out in competition.

    When have you seen "LA Times blames NY Times for a 30 Million dollar revenue loss"? It makes no sense. It's a (mostly) free market, and Craigslist is in competition with the papers for it. Their model works better, so they get the traffic, and the newspapers dont.

    They really have no place to whine here at all.
  • did radio claim massive damage from the rise of television in the 1940s?

    what does the word "progress" mean to some people? ...such as that which will remain unnamed, but insists that we keep on buying little shiny aluminum discs when we want to listen to music
  • I'm not sure what the buy in by the den of theives has to do with this, but it's hardly a surprise that new and improved forms of communication have an impact on old, outdated and over priced forms of communication. This is news for nerds? It would be news if it didn't happen.
  • by Newer Guy ( 520108 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:23AM (#11197126)
    The newspaper lobby needs to pay off Congress to enact special legislation making Craigslist illegal. They could call it the NMCA (Newspaper Millennium Copyright Act).
  • I owe my current apartment, kick ass roommate, and my job all to Craig. If you are living in an urban area, you really can't go wrong. Let's hear it for grassroots, baby!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:27AM (#11197141)
    I work for a medium sized paper in their online division. I can't say this is anything of a surprise for us "New Media" guys. We've been trying for over a year now to get our classified department to allow online only ads, they just aren't interested.

    I'll talk to them about craigslist or autotrader and they just look at me like I'm an alien. Most classified departments are run by old men without a clue.

    As far as requiring registration, I absolutely hate it. It's got to be the most annoying thing we ever came up with. I voiced my opinion and we did it anyways. We're still seeing positive growth in our traffic, so they just aren't going to budge. The sad part is, all my paper is interested in is seeing that immediate buck from our website. It's just depressing because there are soo many free news sites out there that it's almost impossible to break even.

    I don't plan on working there for long though, they just don't pay and could care less about your opinion unless your an editor. Screw the newspapers!
    • We're still seeing positive growth in our traffic, so they just aren't going to budge.

      Haven't they realised 90% of their 'registered' readers have the same name but a zillion different IP addresses?

    • Not to mention that the big daily newspapers 'of record' are always the most backward and conservative institution in any city.
      In my city, whenever the cops shoot somebody for no reason at all, the newspaper is always 100% behind the police regardless of the circumstances or evidence. When there was an anti-war demonstration and people brought their children, the police blocked off all street exits and went in spraying everyone (including little children) with Mace and pepper spray. The newspaper was
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:32AM (#11197160) Journal

    Next, How Movies cost Vaudeville Money. 'nuff said.

  • Additional Links (Score:4, Informative)

    by Degrees ( 220395 ) <degrees AT sbcglobal DOT net> on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:32AM (#11197162) Homepage Journal
    Businesswire [] has the same article, plus a few lines BUT includes a link to the company that did the report, Classified Intelligence []

    Which has a link to a preview of the report (pdf); the price to buy the report is $250 - both of which can be found here [].

  • Newsflash: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Valar ( 167606 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:38AM (#11197185)
    You do not have a right to profits! Seriously, this is what an economist would call "competition." In capitalism, it is supposed to happen.
  • Misconception... (Score:5, Informative)

    by WhiteBandit ( 185659 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:39AM (#11197189) Homepage
    The article seems to imply that because of Craigslist's free nature, that the papers are losing money and can't compete with Craigslist persay. However, that isn't entirely correct.

    I used to work at Trader Joe's in SOMA (SF) and had the fortune of having a Craigslist employee come through my line (he was wearing a CL shirt, which I inquired about). We got to the topic of Craigslist and its plethora of free boards/posting for all sorts of items. I asked how much bandwidth they were using (something like 20 MB per second at the time) and how they got their revenue since there weren't any advertisements on the site. The solution: They charge companies to post employment listings... and evidentially only for the San Francisco section of Craigslist. All the other cities sections were still completely free. (At least this was the case at the time I talked to this employee)

    So while the newspapers are claiming they are losing that money to Craigslist (which is true), it's more of a fact that these companies are simply switching to a service that they feel produces better results, not neccesarily the fact that Craigslist is a (mostly) free service for them.

    (Of course, it also helps that you can search job postings by location, money, job types, and other criteria... which isn't all that easy in a hard copy newspaper. It's simply a better medium)

    (Offtopic - I've also had someone from Yahoo come through my line, who was also wearing a company shirt. After talking for a bit, she asked if I used Yahoo at all. I told her I used Google. She didn't say another word to me while she was in the store!)
  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:39AM (#11197192)
    Read your local lately? You'll find maybe ten percent new local content put alongside 90% of yesterday's wire service stories. This is just a transport mechanism for the dozens of advert flyers that are the real purpose of the paper. LET THEM DIE.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:41AM (#11197204)
    What we're seeing now is the manifestation of the new mega-corporate business model.

    At some point, if a company becomes large enough, it apparently is granted some form of "seniority" in the marketplace and is no longer required to be competitive. When these companies find themselves in such positions, in lieu of being innovative or fiscally responsible, many whine and complain that their right to profit (or as Noam Chomsky says it's spelled "jobs") should be protected. From airlines to car companies, this has been happening for decades. Taxpayers subsidize the slow death of badly run businesses.

    The amount of "corporate welfare" in the form of various tax incentives and trade protection to mega-corporations is exponentially greater than all other entitlements combined, almost all of which are designed to give corporations advantages in lieu of being more competitive in the marketplace.

    The funny thing is that if it were a smaller company complaining about waning competitiveness, people would be unsympathetic. However, larger entities seem to not have to play by the same rules.

    Let this be a lesson to would-be entrepeneurs: If at some point you employ X amount of people and purchase Y amount of political clout, you no longer have to be that concerned with the viability of your products and services.
    • close (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geekoid ( 135745 )
      what happens is the need to make more money then the year before.
      so once the readership gets to its peak for its area, there profitsd level off.
      But they still need to make MORE then last year, so they start cutting things and trying to drive sales by putting in 'cathcy' stories.

      People who are investers need to relize that there our market caps, and once you are selling to everybody who is going to buy your revenue growth may flatten off.
      TO me, if a compnay profit 10,ooo,ooo one year, and profit 10,000,000
  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @12:45AM (#11197213) Homepage
    Every American who doesn't give me a dollar right now is costing me the dollar that I'd have if only they'd given it to me.

    Thus, Americans' selfishness is currently costing me over $250 million a year, and that lost revenue has a real economic impact; it's money that would otherwise be flowing into the economy when I spent it on myself.

    I think it's time that congress got involved.
  • While growing up my parents got the daily newspaper. Fast-forward to now and I've got my own house and I don't buy a newspaper. Why? I can get the news quicker by going to or yahoo's news site.

    I think what we're seeing here is an entire generation that will *NOT* be buying newspapers. I don't even get a subscription to sportsIllustrated which was something I did while growing up.

    Looks like the print industry in general may be running into this problem that their audience doesn't want to wait
  • by Cervantes ( 612861 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @01:10AM (#11197310) Journal
    In Other News:
    That guy who got the sysadmin job I applied for has now cost me over $60,000CDN in lost income. Bastard!

    And the cow-irker who works down the hall and purchased a computer from CompuSlut instead of me cost me another $250. Bastard!

    And all those people who wanted holiday photos printed, and went to a "professional printers" instead of letting me charge them $20 per page to do it on my colour laser just cost me over $600! Bastard!

    I mean, what do we think we are, a capitalist society here or something? I have a right to this money, and it is inherently wrong for anyone but ME to get it!

    We all need to band together to ensure that EVERYONE has to pay whatever price I set for my services, because it is just WRONG for some new paradigm to come along and get the money, just because they happen to have a cheaper method of doing things. It's WRONG, I tell you, and we must FIGHT IT. Send a message to these bastards, and give me all your money!


  • by Castaa ( 458419 ) * on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @04:28AM (#11197927) Homepage Journal
    Here in SF where Craig's List (CL) started and is king, the San Francisco Chronicle's classified section has dried up to a fraction of what it was in the past.

    It has gotten so bad that the Chronicle will run many types of classified ads indefinitely once the ad is placed.

    CL is the first place the majority of bay area folks look to buy and sell their stuff or find an apartment.

    From what I've read Craig is true stand up guy. He passed up multi-millions during the heyday to keep Craig's List free from corporate control and undesired influences.

    To give you an idea of the amount of money Craig passed on, a former partner sold his 25% stake in CL for $10+ million after the crash to eBay.
  • by cnewmark ( 45916 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2004 @08:42PM (#11204853) Homepage
    We're at the start of a major transition in mass media. (I'm tempted to refer to a singularity in the Vingean sense, but few get it.)

    1. the big issue is trust. We've crossed a point where people don't believe what they read. For example, people know, and reporters admit, that they'll hear lies and not expose them. Best example, would be the White House press corps, with the heroic exception of Helen Thomas, who might be the only one asking hard questions.

    2. "citizen journalism" is emerging, check out and whatever Dan Gillmor's doing

    3. convergence of technologies might produce someone competing with paper, like flexible displays with wifi

    (This is the short version, written in a hurry, so please give me a break, okay?)

    I'm telling journalist friend to start checking this out, since I figure the tipping point will happen in maybe five years. (I should know better than to predict; I'm still bitter there are no lunar colonies... and what about jetpacks?)

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky