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Ah, The Greasy Feel of Newsprint on My Hands

By - June 27, 2006

WsjI read the print editions of both the NYT and WSJ today. Why? Well, I am traveling, on a plane, and for a period of about 45 minutes I could not have my computer on. That was just enough time to pore through the papers, and I will admit, it was a mostly pleasant experience. Not that I plan to subscribe to them or anything, and I did have to hit the head to wash my hands before cracking open my laptop to write this missive.

A few interesting things in today’s papers, beyond the exhaustive coverage of Buffet’s gift to the Gates foundation (truly astonishing.) First, in the Journal. Two full page color advertisements (wish I could link to them) caught my eye. The first, on page B5 of the Journal’s Marketplace section, was from Google. It was easy to tell it was a Google ad – it was mostly whitespace, with a number of colored spheres arranged randomly about the page. Each sphere, it turns out, was labeled with the name of a city where Google has a sales office. The ad implored qualified sales folks to contact Google. In other words, Google is hiring like crazy in sales, and apparently AdWords aren’t enough to find candidates. (What, great sales people don’t just type “sales jobs” into Google?!).

The next ad, at B9, was also Google related. In fact, it had a headline which blared “She Found Your Furniture Ad On Google.” The ad featured a picture of a young girl playing with a doll house. It was an ad for MSN AdCenter, touting its demographic-driven approach, and how much more relevant MSN was over Google’s AdSense (57% higher conversion rate, the ad claimed).

Apparently, while AdCenter is 57% better than AdSense, and AdSense is not good enough to entice the right sales folks to Google, neither product can live without a full page, color ad in the Wall Street Journal’s Marketplace section. As I recall, those ads go for $64,000 to $120,000 a pop, depending on editions and discounts. Something to think about. I’m not claiming this proves that print is alive and well (it’s certainly not dead, but parts of it are, well, pretty attenuated), but it does prove that enduring brands (the WSJ) and important and savvy audiences (those who read the Marketplace section of the Journal) have gotten a pretty clear endorsement from two of the very same giants who are supposedly threatening print’s very business model.

(An aside… if you’re a sales person who is thinking about jumping to a new job with an exciting new ad model, you could do far worse, of course, than working at Google (or MSN, for that matter). But, FM, my startup, is also hiring, here in SF, in New York, and even LA, should that be where you work. If you want to learn more, ping me or Chas. No point in promoting Google and MSFT’s ads without tossing in one of my own….)

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  • KING TROLL

    Hey Battelle, My Man Henry with be using your ad system soon. He feels Google is cheating him. I will be setting up a bot to automatically reresh the ads so he can get tons of impressions. Get ready to send my boy a huge check Battelle.

    Also, I think I will be launching a blog with my thoughts and stories. I will be using your ad service too Battelle.

  • H Weaver

    Newspaper ink is almost all soy-based now. Non greasy.

  • http://mortar.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/06/are_adcenter_co.html Mortarmark

    Hey John:

    Did you take a close look at MSN’s cliams? The study they refer to actually gives top honors to AOL. Its bogus.