August 14, 2008

Huffington Post (& Coolhunting & Ideal Bite & ReDirect Guide) goes after Local ad dollar$.

Huffington Post just proudly announced that they’ll be taking their most excellent news blog web site action to Chicago, and then, ala Risk, taking over a city near you in the near future. For those of us who love HuffPost, including yours truly, that’s great news. Huffington Post is the biggest news blog web site on planet earth, and their new Green and Living (wellness, yoga, etc.) sections will help spread what elephant focuses on, ‘the mindful life,’ to the curious masses. 

But I’m dead-set against this latest move. Why? It will certainly be a great offering to Chicagoians (Chicagonites? Windy Citizens?). But this move is, let’s be clear, about one thing.

You gue$$ed it! 

And the effect of such big media moving into competition for local ad dollars is one thing: it hurts local media. Why do we care? Because independent media is the foundation of Democracy—unlike Mass Media, it’s not bought and paid for, it’s less subject to pressure from outside interests. Here at elephant we can say whatever we like—Whole Foods is for hippie yuppies, Sounds True’s graphics are kinda spiritually-materialistic, Izze sucks for selling to Pepsi, Crocs is run by Republicans (say it ain’t so!)—because The Man ain’t got no power over us. And a far higher percentage of local media is independent. So get ready, Chicago media, you’re about to have yet another carpetbagging national outfit come in and play local, and take away some of your local advertiser ad dollars. 

Here in Boulder, elephant (which has been around for six years) has suffered onslaught after onslaught of money-hungry media interlopers. Some of them, like ReDirect Guide, are great and have great missions. Still, even ReDirect has taken advertisers from little indie elephant, causing us to have a harder time going to (local) press. Where’s my violin, you seen it? Now, Ideal Bite is coming to town. They always start the same way: we’d love to partner! I give them street cred and an ad, they give me…an ad.

Still, let’s face it, this is America. We love making dough, and growing and expanding. So HuffPost may be excused for wanting more. Who doesn’t? I just say, look, if you wanna grow don’t do so at the expense of locals. Do what elephant is doing—go national. Compete with national media for national ad dollars. Don’t pick on the little guys.

Pick on someone your own size.

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