Peter Kafka

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Small Business Web Ad Dollars: Still Way Too Small

cash registerHey, Google! And Yahoo, and Yelp, and Twitter and Facebook and every other Web company that says it wants to sell ads to mom-and-pop shops: Try harder.

So says Boston Consulting Group, out with a new report that shows only 3 percent of small-business ad dollars going online.

The numbers come from a survey conducted last fall of 550 small companies, and shouldn’t come as a complete surprise to anyone who has watched the Web guys try to break into the market for many, many years.

With the notable exception of Groupon and other daily deal companies, most of the Internet guys like to advertise their advertising on the Internet. And their platonic ideal for a transaction is the self-serve model, where humans never have to talk to each other. Meanwhile, lots of traditional business still gets done in analog form, via phone calls and feet on the street.

When small businesses do spend their money, Google still gets the most, says BCG, which ranks the popularity of other outlets this way: “Other search engines, Yelp, Facebook, Yahoo! Local, (formerly, Twitter, LinkedIn, and”

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Artens)

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work