Magazine article Editor & Publisher

It's a Tough Sell: Bringing Advertisers Online

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

It's a Tough Sell: Bringing Advertisers Online

Article excerpt

Like a canvas with only a few lines of paint, newspaper Web sites and their advertising approaches are a work in progress.

Newspaper executives who are struggling with ways to turn a profit on Web sites say they are learning better ways to do business.

Many traditional newspaper advertisers resist spending additional money for an online ad, but there are signs that this resistance is declining.

Deb Ward, online classified manager at SF Gate, the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle and KRON-TV Channel 4, predicts a double-digit increase in online ad revenue this year, but she concedes sales remain a struggle.

"I'd say 20% of our [print] advertisers are willing to listen" to a pitch for online advertising, says Ward, who charges $300 a month for an online classified ad, which allows for an unlimited number of words.

Advertisers who turn down online advertising often complain about insufficient research on its effectiveness, says Ward, who notes others complain, "'I tried it, and it didn't work. ... We're redesigning our new Web site. Talk to me in six months.'" Ward's ads are sold by six specialized reps as well as the Chronicle's 40 print classified reps.

Selling online advertising to advertisers who don't have it in their budget is "very challenging" because it "usually means they have to take [the money] out of radio or something," says Ward. …

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