Saturday, September 27, 2008

The media get a taste of their own medicine

The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) threw a tantrum last week, and it barely made the blurbs on the inside sections of major newspapers nationally. The reason? The media knew it was the pot calling the kettle black.

Here's the dust-up. Google and Yahoo have an advertising deal pending government approval. It would evidently give the two Internet giants more inroads into online advertising. WAN says the deal would reduce the cost of paid search advertising and lower revenues for newspapers' and others' Web sites, which receive payments from the twain. WAN also says the deal would give Google "unwarranted" market power.

Unlike the "warranted" power that the media (especially newspapers) hold in virtually every medium-size city in America and many large cities, where it's stranglehold means confiscatory advertising costs (it just cost me $260 to advertise a house for sale for 8 days). I'm giggling; I'm gaga over Google. Run the media rats out of business, Your Googleness.

The media also didn't bother to mention in their blurbs that they got their pseudo-monopolies via the so-called Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970 -- another wretched package passed by the surly Richard Nixon. This act gave exemption to newspapers from so-called anti-monopoly legislation. Hey, you know I'm against monopoly legislation, but newspapers are notorious for bashing the Microsofts and the Googles and the Wal-Marts for allegedly being monopolies while whining that they, the newspapers, are in a "unique" situation that necessitates monopolies. I guess it also necessitates exhorbitant ad costs, huh?

The last irony in this is that the newspapers are worried that the deal between Google and Yahoo will reduce the costs of online ads at the newspapers. In other words, you and I would get to pay less for those ads if Google and Yahoo get their way. This is typical government-begging monopolist behavior. I'm taking another day off my countdown clock for the terminus of newspapering. Meanwhile, my fingers are crossed for Google and Yahoo.

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