Alan Mutter on an inevitable development:
(S)ome of the biggest retailers in the nation have taken to selling advertising and featuring editorial content at their busy and heavily promoted online shopping sites.
By transforming themselves into publishers, the folks who formerly depended on newspapers to reach prospective customers are building direct, powerful and sustainable connections with consumers in a strategy that is bound to reduce demand for traditional advertising.
Unless newspapers angle their way back into the mix, it is hard to see how they can stop the slide in advertising that brought industry revenues to some $24 billion in 2011 from $49.4 billion in 2005.
Once again, Mutter is always worth a read. This strikes me as inevitable, though, because retailers are finding ways to make their web brands sticky as a community. Organizing a place for people to do the things they’re going to do anyway — shop, brainstorm, learning from others, reading editorial content, uploading content — in general, communing. Creating a place for that allows you to do a lot of things like sell advertising yourself.