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List of businesses newspapers should buy

Newspapers should be buying their online competitors. But too often when newspaper's open their wallets it's to invest in trendy gadget sites (ones that don't produce content but offer a nifty tool for reorganizing it). Instead, buy content that just works online. Here are my top 20 recommendations. Feel free to suggest your own in the comments.

PerezHilton.com
My first-ever addition to this list comes because Perez is so freakin' popular and so undersold.

Huffington Post
This site has a large online following and is actually breaking news. One of the most mentioned among politicos on television and in blogs.

Drudge Report
Perhaps the most important editor on the Web right now is Matt Drudge. Lots of people want to know what he thinks they should be reading. Sounds like a valuable newspaper to me.

CollegePublisher
Although MTV recently bought this network of college Web sites, I still wish it had been newspapers who realized the way toward an automatic audience of young readers is through their college sites.

Gawker Media
This brilliant idea of covering national niche markets with snarky blogs has borne a host of sites that can't' be beat within their coverage areas. Gawker for media gossip, Wonkette for politics, Eater for restaurants, and Gizmodo for gadgets.

Media Bistro
Covers the world of media with a host of indispensable blogs.
UPDATE: MediaBistro bought by JupiterMedia.

Weather Underground
This and other niche weather sites are great buys. Not flashy, but filled with information.

Slashdot
A long-standing place for nerds who want news. Now owned by SourceForge.

CNet
A perhaps more reputable place for nerds who want news.
UPDATE: CBS buysCNET

Fark
Oddball news is popular, like it or not. And although there's no original content on this site, it's still an important editor to many readers.

Internet Movie Database
Newspapers have covered the entertainment industry for ages. This is a less narrative approach to that coverage. Now owned by Amazon.

TMZ
Britney Spears stories get a lot of page views. TMZ excels at celeb gossip, often promoting its site via the cable news shows.

Hollywood Media Corp.
The company includes a series of events listings services newspapers would find valuable, plus the ever-important Hollywood.com site with its entertainment coverage and movie times.

BeliefNet
Covering religion is an important and growing niche. The copy isn't high quality prose, but nevertheless it's highly read among its audience.
UPDATE: BeliefNet bought by News Corp.

Space
Hasn't everyone visited this very cool site about outer space sometime in their life?

Science Daily
Devoted to science news, there's real content here.

The Smoking Gun
Perhaps past its heyday, but a good brand and idea that has some life and news value. Now owned by CourtTV.

The Motley Fool
Personal investing advice and news from a well known Web brand.

Military.com
There are other military based Web sites, but I list this one because it's online only and oddly owned by Monster. Why does Monster own this site? It's a news site for the armed forces, not a job board.

MiniClip
Sudoku is friggin' popular. And so are the crosswords. So how about newspapers try some modern time-wasters.

Rivals
College sports fans are crazy, page-view making addicts. Rivals grows and grows. Huge potential if it can keep ahead of even smaller niche sites being created.
UPDATE: Rivals.com bought by Yahoo.

Comments (5)

Actually, if newspapers companies got wise, they'd start snapping up some successful social networking startups and pilfer their tools to add the functionality onto their news sites :)

I have to disagree. The social networking sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook are great ideas, great tools. But they're not the type of content newspapers should be buying.

Buy content. Not gadgets.

I didn't recommend sites such as Blogger.com because the content generated by those sites isn't focused in a way that a media company can leverage. We're good at selling ads around channels. Great ideas like LiveJournal are for someone else to sell.

Newspapers have to look for ways to expand their core competency to the Web. Buying The Drudge Report is a good idea because that site is significantly underperforming in terms of selling ads. It's a good idea because Drudge writes stories, and could write more. But most importantly, it's a good idea because the newspaper would be hiring a trusted editor. (When an editor is narrowly defined as someone who sifts through the news and picks what people want.)

Joe:

Nice list! Are there business oriented websites (not personal finance)that could possibly be added to the list?

I'm not into that particular reading niche. So I can't be certain, but my guess is there's a site for just about anything. The question is whether it should be bought. All of the names on the list above are solid brands and traffic performers.

If anyone knows others that should be added within the niche of business coverage, feel free to post here.

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