The Google brokers newspaper advertising

I’m handing over the reigns to all blogging on the topic of Google and newspaper advertising to the more efficient Scott Karp, who says, : “Handing the reigns over to Google’s efficient direct response advertising machine will only hasten the realization that the Web is much more efficient than print at driving action and response. The likely net effect of the Google/Newspaper program will be increased efficiency and therefore fewer advertising dollars in the system, as is already anticipated.”

And Jeff Jarvis, who says: “Turning over ad sales to Google — strengthening Google over their own brands…only reveals the bankruptcy of (newspapers’) strategies and soon businesses. Oh, if I were running a newspaper (fat chance), I’d probably sign on, too, because there’s little time and less choice. But it is only an indication of what Google can do and newspapers can’t.”

Here’s what I think: As I wrote over and over when Google was trying out the same model for magazines (it hasn’t worked so far, but one day, I believe Google will figure that market out also), this business model is an old and easy-to-understand role in the publishing industry: it is called “independent sales rep.” If Google finds a way to aggregate advertising and sell it for newspapers (probably, the classified variety) and keep a 20% commission on the transaction, then they can rearrange the market share of advertising sales brokering — and be a threat to some independent and in-house advertising sales folks. But it should only be a net positive for newspapers, who spend that much already in sales-related costs.

Newspapers sure as heck were never going to figure it out on their own.

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