How To Save Newspapers

Just a quick thought.

Bloggers receive commission via affiliate links if they choose to. They are influencing a sale. They are salespeople. Companies see value in that, so they gladly pay that percentage.

Newspapers influence people too, so why don’t they receive a commission? If they influence someone in selling an iPad, why shouldn’t the newspaper get paid?

You might answer that it would result in undue influence to the journalist in question. Not so.

A journalist could write what he wants as usual, and another department (advertising, etc.) could insert affiliate links after the fact. As long as we keep the divide between departments, the reporting remains pure. No problem.

Newspaper websites already receive a ton of traffic. Any newspaper that decides to do this on their website makes a extra cool million a year, easy.






9 responses to “How To Save Newspapers”

  1. Martyn Chamberlin Avatar

    Scary interesting baby. That’s a seriously good idea. The newspapers could definitely use some more green.

    1. Julien Avatar

      Thanks. Now why has no one thought of this before?

  2. Black dog Avatar
    Black dog

    You need a 21st century marketing team – I read something only last week about an online publication that does this. It won’t save newspaper production. There’s a little something called an iPad and a Kindle. What will save the newspaper industry? An electricity rate hike or total blackout.

  3. CT Moore Avatar

    I hate when people leave blog comments just to toot their own horn, but I’m going to do just that:

    That was an entire section of a white paper I wrote recently (, as well as a blog post (

    Newspapers have a lot of ad revenue options they are simply failing to seize, and the sick thing is that they are in a better position to leverage a lot of these options than most of the people already getting rich doing so.

  4. Robin Browne Avatar

    Other papers should follow The Guardian’s lead. It released all its content via an API with one important catch – at some point in the future all those great apps people create have to carry Guardian advertiser ads.
    It’s brilliant, very social web and I don’t get why it’s not getting more airplay.

  5. Robin Browne Avatar

    One more point. If I understand your idea, I disagree there would be no journalistic influence. What I get you saying is that if a journalist wrote a piece on, say, the benefits of running, the ad guys could put a Nike affiliate ad next to it and this system would have no influence on what journalists write. I disagree because if the Nike affiliate ads start raking in the bucks for the paper and a year later the same journalist wants to write a story he’s broken about even worse Nike sweatshops, the paper may think twice about running it – just like they do now.

    1. Julien Avatar

      right, so it’s just the same as it is now is what you’re saying? how is that bad?

  6. Robin Browne Avatar

    That’s bad because journalists being influenced is bad. This is especially true since the way it happens now isn’t by Big Brother publishers or editors killing stories by progressive journalists. It’s by those same publishers and editors hiring journalists they know will not only tow the line – they’ll evangelize it.

  7. Ohno Avatar

    This is not new. Newspapers and magazines have been selling ads based on relevancy for some time. The idea is if you’re reading a movie critique and there’s an ad for the movie on the same page, the user will be inclined to click on it. Not so. The point isn’t relevancy; it’s engagement. People aren’t clicking through to the newspaper sites as much as they were to read a news article: they’re going straight to Google News reading headlines and abstracts and then off to some other part of the net. You can jam a page with ads based on the same subject as the article but that doesn’t lend it self to a click through. Finally, the news establishment is rightfully based on the presumption that readers come back based on trust and credibility. I’m a working journalist and I can tell you that if you pump a page full of Nike ads while there’s an article on Nike it affects the readers opinion, they think the newspaper is in bed with the advertiser and they don’t bother coming back. So now you have no credibility, no users and no revenue. Fix the engagement problem and improve online marketing for newspapers. That’ll go further than ad placement.

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