Are Customers’ websites profitable?

A study of the orders for subscriptions to the print edition and the orders for classified ads generated by our customers’ mostly weekly newspaper web sites that utilize these order forms indicated that the average customer makes a net profit from these orders alone. The study included all costs: our fees, labor needed to upload news and ads, delivery of print subscriptions, etc. Additionally, the study found that at least 75% of the web orders are from customers that, had it not been for the website, would not have ordered.

The study found that many customers are enhancing the profitability of their online editions with sales of display ads on the web. Some offer to upgrade a print display ad to a print and web ad as an inducement to increase the ad size or to sign a long term contract; others sell them outright. These ads are a great value for the advertiser because of the high local traffic, the high visibility (being presented on every page) and the low cost (typicially around 5% of the print ad – all going to the publisher).

A new program that greatly simplifies the selling of display ads could result in web profits equal to 5% of the newspaper’s total print display ad sales!

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