Will the NY Times Get into the SEM Biz?

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The NY Times has launched a small business center with its own and third party content. (See the MediaPost story on it today.) This is espeically interesting in the context of NY Times CEO igital Martin Niesenholtz’s recent comments about the Times’ “vertical” strategy:

Niesenholtz also noted that the broad reach of the Internet and data base technology demands a verticalization strategy. “We transitioned from being publishers of newspaper articles on the Web to Web publishers,” he said. “This is a huge difference, as the latter involves developing significant competencies in such areas as application software development, interaction design and user generated content.”

To verticalize, Niesenholtz said The Times “needed to rapidly transform many of the vertical parts of the site into highly robust, data base driven sections. We had made this transition with our movies vertical in 2003 and we’d seen traffic go from 800,000 visitors a month to 4 million. Now we needed to do it in Travel, Business, Style and other areas of robust advertising demand.

So small business is another hypothetical vertical. One question I have is: Is The Times now going to get into services? For example, rating and listing Web hosting firms and taking a rev share for any referred sales. And beyond that is The Times going to do a deal with a WebVisible or a Leads.com or a Reach Local or Innovectra or NatPal or anther, similar firm and offer to sell clicks/leads/calls to local advertisers?

It becomes feasible for the Times to do that through a third party relationship. The Times doesn’t have an extensive local sales channel. But because it’s a highly trafficked site and a trusted brand it might have an opportunity to gain some “advertisers” in this way. And if they were to do it it would take them into somewhat new territory (although you can buy tickets and travel through the site today.)

Will be interesting to see . . .

One Response to “Will the NY Times Get into the SEM Biz?”

  1. cohn Says:

    I don’t think they have a choice if they want to survive let alone thrive. I doubt few other publishers will follow suit any time soon.

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