I know why newspapers are in trouble. Sure, there’s been a flood of competitive media. Especially the Internet. And fewer people today want a whole lot more than headlines. And only we older people, apparently, appreciate a hands-on newspaper experience.
But I have another blinding glimpse of the obvious that’s making things hard for newspapers. We all know that people do more business with people who make it easy to do business with them. And newspapers are very, very hard to do business with.
I tried recently to look up on the Internet the advertising rates of a couple local, weekly newspapers. Neither posts its advertising rates on its web site. I wasted over twenty minutes looking, then tried calling. But in both cases couldn’t get a real person and had to leave a message. That doesn’t make much sense to me, but later one told me they found that they sold more advertising when they removed their rates from their web site than when rates had been there. That makes less sense to me.
As for The Commercial Appeal, like most major U.S. dailies it’s hard to figure their rates, and even harder to get somebody on the telephone. I still believe you do more business the easier you make it to do business with you.
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