OODLES OF TROUBLE. The most significant media story of the weekend was this piece, by the Globe's Bruce Mohl, on Oodle.com, a commercial website that aggregates classified ads from a variety of sources, including newspapers.
Oodle doesn't steal - once you've found what you're looking for, you still have to click through to, say, the Globe's or the Herald's site to read the full ad. So there's nothing for newspapers to worry about, right?
Wrong. Mohl writes:
John Morton, a newspaper analyst with Morton Research, said the Oodle concept has obvious advantages for consumers, but he said its success could undermine the advertising rates of classified providers, which tend to be based on circulation.
Morton said there may be less incentive for a consumer to spend $50 on a classified ad in a large-circulation publication when a $10 ad in a smaller-circulation publication would end up with equal billing on Oodle.
"You're taking the publication's circulation out of the equation," Morton said.
This is potentially huge. Classified ads make up an enormous percentage of newspaper revenues. If the Oodle model takes hold, though, it doesn't matter where you advertise - you could take out an ad in a small paper, Craigslist, or whatever, and it will pop up in an Oodle search just as readily as if you had bought the ad in the Herald or the Globe.
And so the economic underpinnings of journalism are undermined once again.
Here's the press release announcing Oodle's move into Greater Boston.
OLIPHANT'S BACK. Globe columnist Tom Oliphant's battle with a burst brain aneurysm certainly hasn't robbed him of his sense of humor. Oliphant had two great lines in his moving comeback piece yesterday:
2005 suddenly becomes 1953.... And you have no idea who the president is - it really was possible to forget George Bush for a while.
Decades of journalism helped me pretend to have knowledge I didn't have.
Not a shred of self-pity, either. It will be good to see Oliphant back in the paper on a regular basis.