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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Toronto Star Classifieds vs. Craigslist (and 905 vs. 416)

If you're like me, you've heard a lot of debates about old vs. new media, fueled by the folks closest to the action - like Om Malik (who now has a bigger stake in the new, but this isn't about him).

I'm pretty sure I've heard Om say those old classifieds are silly and stupid and headed nowhere (paraphrasing). I think someone else in the room, Om included, might have said Craigslist is silly and stupid and headed nowhere.

Which might make Joey deVilla's post "When Craigslist Beat the Toronto Star Classifieds" silly, stupid, and headed nowhere. Except to Joey, of course.

Not only did Joey discover that Craigslist won hands down, but he came up with some hilarious prose to go with it:

The Star ad drew in a larger proportion of people from the deep burbs who had that sort of attitude that the burbs was where one lived and downtown was a grittier kind of mall or playground where you could shop, get drunk, act like an idiot and start fights.

I wasn't going looking for Joey's post... completely accidental that I stumbled on it. Why would I be surprised that one of the funniest bloggers around happens to also be the well-known "Accordion Guy" who works as a developer liaison and evangelist for Tucows, Inc.?

Old media isn't all washed up, of course. Presumably companies like Torstar have plans to catch up to the likes of Craigslist. Don't they? I've been told they do, by someone who (works for Torstar and) listened to Malik talk, who seems to have hired someone I know who used to work at Tucows. Small world. No word on whether Craigslist has a physical Toronto office. :)

I suppose there should be some sort of smart conclusion to this. That would probably be: as long as Newspaper 2.0 (or Newscast 2.0, or whatever you want) is eventually owned (at least in part) by the same capital that owned Newspaper 1.0, nothing fundamental will have changed for the capital/owner people. The smartest ones are of course agnostic about change, even rapid change. As long as it turns into a good investment. The scary part is when many goods and services in your sector become free due to overinvestment in the "new," potentially forcing the old to buy into the new sooner than they might like. Assessing opportunities becomes very difficult in such an environment, because it's usually a bad idea to jump at the Web 2.0 bait prematurely, rather than laying back or building your own... except in those instances where it isn't. Rupert Murdoch looks very smart to have bought MySpace, but you know he would have been hung out to dry had he bungled and bought the wrong thing. More on the bad idea concept in the next post.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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