Who says newspapers are dead? Not Google.
The New York Times reports morning that Google has begun testing the use of AdWords, its online ad auction system, to sell print ads in newspapers around the country. The extension of AdWords to newspaper ads is not unexpected. The search giant has long said that it intends to become a clearing house for ad sales across all media, and in August it began a pilot project selling ads into a handful of tech trade mags. The current trial involves 50 major newspapers.

But the news is an inflection point on an evolution that once would have been difficult to imagine, and its hard to decide what's the more surprising: the weakened state of the once-mighty newspaper industry, or the prospect of a high-flying Internet search engine showing any interest at all in grubby, penny-ante newspaper ads... Never inclined to miss a news item that affords them the chance to talk about Google while also beating up on old media, the bloggers are out in force. "Is it a good idea?" asks Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine. "Of course, it is. It is an idea the newspaper industry should have taken on itself 10, no 20 [years] ago." John Battelle mainly agrees, though he offers a glimmer of hope for the print sales reps just now coming to work: "Print advertising is a maddeningly 'human' business, driven by passion, emotion, and gut feeling. I'm not sure that's ever going to go away," Battelle writes, arguing that the new Google system will not usurp the big ticket brand advertisers in print. Instead, Battelle sees AdWords "working well for remnant/backfill, as well as classifieds, where I'm guessing the system will really excel." At paidContent.org, Rafat Ali hits on an interesting, somewhat insider point: "though Google executives dismiss the notion, Google Print Ads could reduce the role long played by media-buying agencies by essentially offering advertisers a mechanism to deal directly with print publishers." For the record, despite all the industry's troubles, print advertising in newspapers remains a $48 billion market, so there's still lot's of disruption left to go.
Posted by Oliver Ryan 9:36 AM 0 Comments comment | Add a Comment

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