I’m no advertising expert, but Steve Buttry’s post on newspapers’ original sin strikes me as being exactly right:
The disastrous error that newspapers made early in our digital lives was treating online advertising as a throw-in or upsell for their print advertisers. Helping businesses connect with customers was always our business. We were facing new technology and new opportunities and we did next to nothing to explore how we might use this new technology to help businesses connect with customers.
We just offered businesses the same old solutions that we offered in print, but pop-up ads and web banners somehow didn’t work as well as display ads. Which was just as well, because we told our business customers the ads weren’t worth much by the way we treated them.
Having blown the online-advertising business, newspaper executives are now going to make up for it by charging for online content — likely with miserable results. (Via Steve Yelvington.)