Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How Acai Berries could save the New York Times

I was struck by two articles I read today about Acai Berries and what is says about why newspapers are failing in this digital age.

Via a link on Hacker News, I found an post on Black Hat SEO about a fellow that makes $15,000 a through Google adsense. The basic formula was 1) Pick a valuable industry 2) Create content in that industry 3) Take steps such at people find this content through Google 4) Profit when people click on valuable advertising.

The fellow gave an example of creating a site about Acai berries and how he makes $5 everytime someone clicks on a link on the site. After setting up the site, he basically has very little to do and makes some nice passive income. People who coming to his site have "purchase intent" for things regarding Acai Berries and therefore are valuable leads for advertisers.

That same day, the New York Times has an article about Acai Berries. It's a well researched, intelligent piece about Acai Berries. Because the New York Times is such a reputable source, many people will find this content through search engines when they are seeking Acai related products.

How does the New York Times monetize this valuable content? Through flippin ads about Ralph Lauren clothes! It's nuts, this is possibly the worst way to make money from this content. The people who are reading this content are interested in Acai Berries - serve them some ads about Acai Berries. Of course the New York Times has some Google Adsense advertisements on the page in the lower right hand corners where no one would have click.

It seems the little guys might understand internet advertising business models better than the big guys like newspapers. Newspapers need to understand:

1. Many people will find their content through search engines
2. Many people who see their articles will have purchase intent regarding that content
3. This is not ideal advertising space for "branded advertising"
4. This is ideal advertising space for products related to that purchase intent.

Newspapers - learn it and love it; these are the rules.

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