Three of the (still) big newspaper companies, Gannett, Tribune, McClatchy, announced a joint effort to sell national ads onto their web sites. Now you might think I’d nod approvingly at that. But I’m not. I’m shaking my head in sad disbelief. For this only reminds me of the newspaper industry’s horribly failed effort to sell ads across the sites of a dozen big companies, the New Century Network, which failed because the companies simply could not work together. And the Journal story only points out that there are still fragmented, competitive efforts going on in the industry. The bottom line is that they are making it hard for national advertisers to buy their sites — thus, easier to buy Yahoo, Google, MSN, MySpace, et al. You see, newspapers all think they’re special. But they’re not.
by Jeff Jarvis