November 25, 2006
Yahoo! Leads Consortium of More Than 150 Newspapers to Bridge Print/Online Advertising

According to an Associated Press report on Yahoo! about Yahoo!, the company announced on Monday that it had reached a deal with more than 150 newspapers to sell advertisements through the company's classified online service.

Yahoo! has launched aggressively into providing services that bridge the divide between online advertising and the "traditional" advertising markets, such as television and radio and print. Coming after Google's deal to sell ads through its Web site for 50 top newspapers, the massive group of newspapers who have signed on for Yahoo!'s services is impressive and gives it a strong market lead--and significant press--about its insertion into the newspaper/online advertising market for classified ads.

The deal includes many of the top newspaper chains in the country and branches across 38 states, with the partnership beginning in December with the HotJobs service for job listings in classified ads. "Yahoo also plans on working with the consortium to provide search, content and local applications across the participating newspapers' Web sites," according to the AP story. The idea is to make it simple to generate national advertising revenue by creating a consortium through Yahoo!, rather than advertisers having to deal individually with newspapers or companies. The online career sections on each paper's site will be powered by HotJobs and co-branded by Yahoo! and each newspaper.

Steve Higgins with The Oakland Press, one of the newspapers using the service, writes, "While the initial focus of the consortium will be on employment ads, the partners plan to explore a wide variety of other Internet applications, from Web search tools to local maps and local news content."

Yahoo!'s move coincides with Google's launching into providing advertising services for clients in selling traditional advertising. When I wrote about Google's plans on Wednesday, I said, "As Google leads the charge into traditional advertising bastions, traditional firms better suit up and be prepared to offer innovation and services that Google can't or at least compete with what eBay and Yahoo! and Google can do."

Based on the New York Times story on Google's approach, I wrote Wednesday that "there's some degree of concern, according to the story, among traditional advertising firms that Google and its competitors have gained such a strong footing in the online worlds that they may be able to offer cross-platform ad deals that will steal substantial business away from more traditional advertising routes. Gene DeWitt was quoted as saying, 'The fox is in the henhouse and it's going to gobble a good part of this business up before anybody realizes they're history.'"

Just as Google has gotten major attention with its plans, Yahoo!'s print approach has shaken up the long-discussed problem with newspapers losing their classified ads to Craigslist.

Yahoo! is a corporate member of the Convergence Culture Consortium, although the company was not consulted in any way regarding this post.