As if the news industry didn't need more dire predictions, along has come Dave Morgan (former CEO of Real Media, now head of Simulmedia) with a post
on location-based media's impact.
In his view, those services will take 20 to 25 per cent of revenue out of local media advertising within four years.
"To the incumbent companies, these services will be like Craigslist on steroids," he writes.
Among the reasons he thinks location-based services will have impact: accessibility and relevance, affordability, ease of use, connectivity and control.
The founder of Craigslist believes a redistribution of influence
is taking place online. Craig Newmark says that, before the decade is done, we will see trust networks gain relative advantage over people with nominal power and money.
As he sees it, "peer networks will confer legitimacy on people emerging from the grassroots."
Clearly there remain some issues. The system can be gamed, he notes, and reputation in one field isn't necessarily going to translate to another field. But as software emerges to cultivate more contextual recommendations and groom a network of trusted associates, Newmark believes it will take hold.
"Right now, it's like the moment before a tsunami, where the water is drawn away from the shore, when it's time to get ahead of that curve," he concludes.
Lately the founder of the classified giant Craigslist has been discussing the role of journalism. Given his role in providing a new forum for advertisers that had previously used journalistic forums for their messages, he's getting a lot of attention for his insights.
Newmark still sees a great function for journalism in curating relevant content, but notes
it's getting more personal and differently filtered through social media sites and recommendations.
"People are relying more and more on critics they trust, and their friends," he says.
He repeats his recently coined line: Trust is the new black.
He acknowledges he's more of a nerd than a newsman. Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, foresees a journalistic future
of necessarily greater curation and trust.
"Trust is the new black," Newmark says. The loss of trust has much to do with the poor curation.
The new model will be a finer balance between professional editing and collaborative news filtering.
Ideally there would be less disinformation involving front groups of special interests, he predicts.
The founder of Craigslist doesn't necessarily offer new insight into the news business in his latest blog.
But he has a nice slogan: Trust is the new black.
He views trust as the single largest emerging factor in the success of news organizations.
"More people need to get the message that the news orgs that thrive in the future will be the most trustworthy ones," he writes. "That includes fact-checking, and a clear separation between reporting and financial needs."
As for the chaff amid the wheat: "Also, it might be okay for tabloids to manufacture conflict and controversy, if done transparently, but not okay to fake stuff."
He'll be delivering more on this theme next week at the Aspen Institute.
Mark Potts, in his Recovering Journalist blog, posts on the threat Yelp poses to the entertainment listings of the newspaper and muses that it represents the same sort of squeeze that Craigslist did.
"The last really defensible franchise for newspapers is local news and information, and local entertainment, dining and business listings and guides are a critical part of that franchise—especially in the ways they can attract advertisers," he writes. But if Yelp is providing a better, easier to use mousetrap, just as craigslist did with classifieds, newspapers are going to lose big. Yet again."
Classified advertising represents a significant portion of revenue. Thus, Craiglist, Kijiji and others pose serious disruption to the economic model of newspapering.
Entertainment listings, meanwhile, are not a vein of revenue. They are more of a reader service and do not attract advertisers in the same way. Undoubtedly any service that takes an audience away is a threat, but of a list of priorities for a newspaper today, defending that category would not likely rate highly.
Most papers also are examining new ways to generate listings online, either on their own or in conjunction with the many existing services that scrape, aggregate and enable easy search of them.
The Pew Center's Internet and American Life project continues to cement a number of perceptions about the changing media landscape. Its newest finding indicates Americans are turning rapidly to online classified advertising sites.
Its latest study found 45 per cent used such sites as Craigslist, up from 22 per cent two years earlier. On a typical day, nine per cent turned to such sites, up from four per cent two years earlier.
And the cohort most strongly using the sites are the coveted 25-44 age group.
The findings are further difficult news for U.S. newspapers, which have lost revenue to the online sites.
Apart from largely acknowledging he's not an acknowledged expert, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark does his best to fend off pointed questions about the future of the newspaper from the Los Angeles Times in this recent exchange.
He does suggest there is a future in paid-for subscription content among the upper-middle-class and up. Hardly cheery prospect, but at least he (and others recently) open the door to business models emerging for print in the digital sphere.
A little-noticed Seattle Times piece this week on Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist raises the possibility of a relationship between the classified giant and the conventional news media.
While Newmark remains his typically self-deprecating self, he does think aloud about one day offering a geo-tagged service that would help people find high-quality news in their neck of the woods. He's waiting for something "mature" to emerge.
Services like newscred.com and newstrust.net are out there sussing out the audience on its views on news. Interestingly, Newmark doesn't have an answer to the more pressing journalistic issue: the loss of revenue thanks to his service draining classified advertising from newspapers. He suggests there needs to be more investigative and aggressive reporting done, but he'll "defer" to experts on how to pay for it in this new digital climate.
Slate Magazine has produced an argument that Wal-Mart's new online classified service, fueled by Oodle, is a possible life line for newspapers hit hard by such services as Craigslist and Kijiji.
It has to make a few assumptions to build the case, but the central argument is that Wal-Mart can serve as a great local partner by serving up aggregated local ads through its site. It asserts that newspapers need to hitch their wagons to Oodle, and in turn to Wal-Mart, to fight the new players, a kind of an Anybody But Craigslist model. For the time being, newspapers aren't partnering with Oodle.