...continued from page 3
"I adore this car. It's hideously out of fashion, but when you're behind the wheel driving somewhere with tons of room for you and your family and a trunk big enough to carry all of your strollers and bags and whatnot, with V8 power, it's a good ride. You'll be glad you're not in a Civic.
"Also, on those rare occasions it snows here, you can get all Dukes of Hazzard with the rear wheel drive.
"I will likely shed a genuine tear when you drive it away because it has been that wonderful. I hope you, the eventual purchaser, are similarly satisfied.
"The car is parked on the street at [address] in Greensboro, NC, if you want to check it out. But don't even bother looking at my sweet conversion van. Those 30 pinstripes of awesomeness are all mine and completely priceless."
Don't bother cruising around looking for the car; it's already sold. My point is, my brilliantly funny lawyer friend could write an 804-word ad.
My other point is, that ad did not help pay for publishing my column. I pointed this out to my friend, and he reminded me that I just got through reviewing Basic Economics, and so I know the principle that in a profit-and-loss economy, loss is just as useful as profit in arranging for the best allocation of scarce resources with alternate uses.
In other words, "Bite me."
So what do print publications – especially completely-ad-supported free papers like The Rhino – do about this?
Well, if John Hammer were what passes for a liberal these days, he would start looking for government subsidies – or for tight restrictions on the ability of websites to put up local want-ads. In other words, he'd demand that the government enforce the status quo and prevent competition.
But John Hammer is not a liberal. He believes in a free economy. He believes in it even when it's wounding his business.
The free economy made videocassettes a huge business; and then it made that business completely disappear when DVDs took over; and now DVDs are disappearing in the face of downloaded and streaming movies and TV series. You get rich on the upswing; you lose if you don't bail out fast enough when the market disappears.
The videocassette companies were not mismanaged; neither were the DVD providers. They were doing a superb job. But the technology changed out from under them.
That's just how economies work – especially industrial economies driven by innovation.
So John Hammer will do what real businessmen do in a free economy – he's look for ways to compete. Because Craig's List does not provide what The Rhino provides – not just the best, but the only serious coverage of local news and issues in the Greensboro area.
People still read The Rhino – in greater numbers than ever. Craig's List and other online want-ad sites aren't causing people not to read The Rhino. They aren't even trying to compete in that market.
The Rhino is still delivering readers' eyes to the advertisers, and the ads still work as well as they ever did. You just can't spend 800 words in a printed want-ad telling the story of the thing you're trying to sell.
So it'll be instructive over the next months to see just what newspapers do to keep providing news to readers who still want to receive it, but who have no idea how much it would actually cost to buy that newspaper if it weren't subsidized by advertising.
Mark my words – you've always paid for newspapers, even free weeklies. You paid by placing ads, and you paid by buying the things those ads were selling.
Now, though, to keep getting newspapers, you're probably going to have to pay in a different way. The question is: what way, and how much will the market bear? It'll be interesting to find out, my fellow consumers. We get what we pay for!
People put up signs saying, "Don't walk on the grass," "Don't throw trash in this mailbox," and "Don't lie on this waterbed."
So in a furniture store in Germany, they put up that last sign, and then made it so people got an instant explanation of why they should have obeyed! This video is all in German, but just remember as you watch it that people were warned!http://sn.im/waterbedwarning