Jeff’s Post problem

One issue I’m surprised I haven’t seen discussed regarding Jeff Bezos’ acquisition of The Washington Post is what his tenure will mean to local advertisers.

They don’t like him. He’s helping putting them out of business.

Haven’t you seen: retail is in the tank. Stores have become showrooms for Amazon’s sales. Looking at the golf club? Go to the pro shop and try it out and learn about it and get advice about it, then go to Amazon and buy it for a better price.

Amazon is going into local markets with experiments in same-day delivery. He will do that in competition with local merchants.

eBay, on the other hand, says it will serve local merchants and help them with same-day delivery and online sales. Google is looking to test same-day local delivery and I would imagine it, too, would work with local businesses, who are its advertisers as well.

The New Republic wondered whether Bezos wants The Washington Post’s delivery trucks. I doubt that. Though as I remember, the Post was one of the first papers in the country to shift from large-scale delivery to small-scale (trucks to station wagons), the system is still not set up to do what a UPS truck does.

So how will Bezos finesse this? He’s not big on finesse, Jeff. He could come and find ways to reassure local advertisers. He could involve them in his local delivery scheme, just as he handed over his sales and technology platforms to more merchants. He could shrug and not worry about retail advertising since he’s killing retail anyway.

As with all speculation about the Bezos era in journalism, we’ll just have to wait and wonder.

  • paulhem

    Jeff: Thank you for pointing this out! I completely missed the show-rooming issue when I was considering the impact of the acquisition.

  • Noel Comment

    Amazon.com could cease to exist tomorrow and have little to no impact on the newspaper industry. When it comes to the tech industry, Google and Craigslist have had a far more significant impact on newspapers advertising revenues. Google has cornered the display ad business, while Craigslist has demonetized the classified ad business.

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  • Derek Ha

    Just as a super hero begets a super villan, perhaps the NSA has risen to balance the good that The Internet has done, and Bezos joins the battle with the Washington Post in order to ‘follow the money’. It is the right thing to do and, like Thor’s Hammer, a mighty object with which to smite the wicked.

  • rjh

    The retailers concerned with “show rooming” are like the press that denies the need to change needed to adapt to the Internet. There are also retailers that are making the changes needed to compete with Amazon. These are many and difficult, as with the press. The 1970′s model won’t work for either press or retailers, and those that don’t change are going out of business.

    But, when you dig into what’s happening with modern logistics management, you also see the retailers that are responding the Amazon as a competitor. Stores have some real advantages once you accept that it isn’t the 1970′s any more.

    I won’t guess why Bezos is interested. He’s invested in both obvious profit oriented businesses and some extremely visionary futurist explorations.