The print industry is dying, if it is not already dead.
Everyone knows this. It is fact.
So, it will not surprise anyone when I point out that Newspapers are doomed. I am not looking for applause or an award with this post. But I do think that my reasoning here is a little bit different than what most folks expect.
Without further ado, let’s add one more item to add to the, “Well, shucks! Looking back on it, doing ________ wasn’t very smart, huh?!” list: Bungling of online Newspapers in their infancy.
Advertisements have been a huge part of Newspapers for years. People are used to seeing ads all over the place while they are trying to read their paper. Shoot, some people even look forward to the flood of ads (and coupons) that arrive with Sunday’s bulging paper.
The next logical step is to make ad revenue a cornerstone of the online paper business, right?
Well, maybe. But also, maybe not.
Print ads in the newspaper never flash, pop up, or get inadvertently clicked – taking you to another page entirely. Print ads might be stupid or pointless to some people, but if they are annoying at all it is a fraction of the amount that online ads test consumer’s patience.
I am tired of getting a pop-up every time I click a story. I am tired of having five ads on a page that get in the way of navigating it. I am tired of in-window pup-ups that come with music and video that ruin everything I was doing.
But most of all, I am tired of businesses (especially those that should have seen it coming and been at the top of the wave) not understanding the internet.
There are some good signs for online papers – The New York Times (which operates a site that is pretty clean and add-free) and other papers have had small successes with subscription systems, for example. But there are far more alarming signs than positive, comforting ones.
To the print industry’s credit, they have not sued their customers. Yet.
On the other hand, perhaps annoying, alienating, and just plane not understanding them (or even taking the time to try) to the brink of trusting http://www.ihategov.net is crime enough.