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Online Publishers Need To Stop Selling Space

 Scott Karp has a lesson for online publishers – and it’s a good one:

So what’s the lesson for newspapers and other traditional media companies trying to transform themselves into online publishers?

Stop selling space.

Google doesn’t sell any space. It sells user intentions, i.e. what’s on people’s minds. And that’s a scare resource — there’s a finite number of people thinking about buying a digital camera today.

The interesting thing though is that I think he underestimates the intelligence of publishers. In the magazine world, selling intention in this way has long been a staple. Niche magazines, selling only 20,000 copies or less, could be madly profitable if they offered to a bunch of readers in a specific market intending by buy products.

The problem, of course, is that Google offers all this but better.

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