NO AUTOSURF ENVY: Newspaper Circulation Plunges; Top Publications Hemorrhage Print Readers As Industry Looks To Harness Power Of Internet Advertising

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’ve been approached by individuals or a downline “team” and invited to join an online “surfing” program that purports to be an “advertising” company, this column may be of some value to you. Extremely well-known publishing companies — companies that produce titles you know and love, and companies that know advertising and business inside and out and through and through — are having trouble keeping readers’ eyes glued to print publications. Many of the famous companies have experienced serious revenue declines. Almost all of them have experienced spectacular print circulation declines even as actual readership was increasing. These famous companies are struggling to find ways to compete online and monetize their hugely popular websites, almost all of which get tremendous traffic.

And yet none of them has turned to the so called “autosurf” model — even though the companies could crush “advertising” firms such as Florida-based AdSurfDaily, which is confronting allegations that it engaged in wire-fraud and money-laundering while operating a $100 million Ponzi scheme.

Despite the fact these famous publishing companies have professional talent, audited readership, audited financials and the economies of scale to destroy so-called “advertising” firms such as ASD or BizAdSplash or AdViewGlobal — and scores of others — these companies do not position themselves against the surfs.

Some of the surfs are collecting millions of dollars — if not tens or hundreds of millions of dollars — during a time the traditional publishing/advertising business is awash in a sea of red ink. All of the traditional companies could use the money autosurf participants are throwing at the surfs.

Autosurf promoters would have you believe traditional publishing/advertising companies are struggling because the famous brands don’t understand the autosurf business model. Surf promoters position people such as ASD President Andy Bowdoin as vastly misunderstood geniuses and visionaries being picked on by the government. The surfs are positioned as cash cows for both the operators and members, and the “new” way to advertise.

Promoters would have you believe that these celebrated publishing/advertising companies just don’t “get it” — and that the people promoting autosurfs in the hyped-up style of MLMs are the modern-day Henry Fords and Thomas Edisons — people who do get it.

Surf promoters are unable to explain rationally why famous companies that could crush the surfs and take away all of their business — while delivering content that gives people a nonfinancial reason to visit highly professional sites and later share in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue — have not leveraged their marketplace advantages and enormous volume of website traffic to make the companies and their readers rich by opening an autosurf.

The reason is simple: The model as practiced in the so-called autosurf advertising “industry” is plainly illegal. It flouts securities laws, wire-fraud laws, mail-fraud laws, racketeering laws, banking laws, money-services laws and other laws — and the surfs try to sanitize it all by saying “rebates aren’t guaranteed,” which is just a contractual disclaimer designed to legalize theft.

When reading the story below, keep in mind that each of the companies mentioned has advantages none of the surfs can offer, including some of the most highly talented writers, editors, designers and advertising-sales executives in the world — people who can deliver millions of eyeballs to websites and produce good results for advertisers both in product sales and branding.

And yet these companies have not turned to Andy Bowdoin of ASD or Clarence Busby of BizAdSplash for guidance.

Now, after this lengthy introduction, the story . . .

Circulation at USA Today plunged 17.15 percent in the six-month period ending in September, compared to the same period in 2008, according to figures released today by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).

Circulation losses experienced by the San Francisco Chronicle (-25.82 percent), the Star Ledger of Newark (-22.22 percent), the Dallas Morning News (-22.16 percent), the Boston Globe (-18.48 percent) and the New York Post (-18.77 percent) were even steeper, ABC reported.

Elsewhere, the Houston Chronicle lost 14.24 percent of its print circulation during the period, and The Daily News (New York) lost 13.98 percent.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Republic (-12.30 percent), the Cleveland Plain Dealer (-11.24 percent), the Los Angeles Times (-11.05 percent), the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times (-10.70 percent), the San Diego Union Tribune (-10.05 percent), the Chicago Tribune (-9.72 percent), the Detroit Free-Press (-9.56 percent) and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (-9.50 percent) also lost significant print circulation, ABC reported.

The Post-Gazette explained today that much of its loss is attributable to an April decision to quit delivering the newspaper to certain outlying areas. The Post-Gazette says its website “remains the region’s most visited site.”

Between the site and the print publication, the Post-Gazette reaches more than 1 million people every week, the newspaper reported.

ABC’s numbers do not mean that actual readership of the publications is plunging. Many print-publishing companies have the dominant websites in their regions. And because the Internet has introduced the sort of immediacy once available only to TV and radio stations — and because print publications generally have larger news-gathering operations than their local competitors — the websites of newspapers and magazines have become enormously popular.

What has not followed — at least not across the board — is an increase in revenues. Some famous print publications have declared bankruptcy, switched to an online-only model or a combination of online and print — or even folded.

Print, in general, is struggling in every corner of the United States — and yet readership and reach never have been higher.

Despite the advantages of readership, reach and talent pools autosurf companies only could dream about, there continues to be great stress in the worlds of publishing and advertising.

No famous publishing house has adopted the autosurf model, even though promoters of the model would have would-be members/advertisers believe it is the magic cure.

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One Response to “NO AUTOSURF ENVY: Newspaper Circulation Plunges; Top Publications Hemorrhage Print Readers As Industry Looks To Harness Power Of Internet Advertising”

  1. Print, in general, is struggling in every corner of the United States

    Not just the US. Rupert Murdoch has been making comments about charging for content. For example:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2009/oct/23/charging-for-content-rupert-murdoch
    He has also been making noises against the BBC which publishes lots of content for free.

    And yet, Rupert has not embraced the adsurf model. I guess he doesn’t “get” it either.

    The model as practiced in the so-called autosurf advertising “industry” is plainly illegal.

    Yep. But some of the pro-ponzi crowd have claimed that they have a contract to do business, even if that business is illegal. The evil government is breaking the US constitution by stopping such business. Or some such nonsense.

    I’ve often said that the ponzi operator/supporters/promoters etc all recycle the same excuses over and over again. It seems that even this excuse has been used before. Not by Bryan Marsden, or Blake Prater. A bit before that:
    Oscar Hartzell, from the 1920’s and 1930’s.
    http://www.fool.co.uk/news/investing/2009/10/26/famous-scams-oscar-hartzell.aspx

    in the US his legions of victims, who seemed to have an unshakeable trust in him, complained bitterly that they could donate their money to whomever they wanted for any legal purpose.

    The similarities between this and modern ponzi scams is interesting. A fortune being held by the wrong people – aka – evil government, or opportunities only available to the very rich. Spinning bad news into good. Taking the name of someone else to support the fraud.

      (Quote)

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