Monday, May 09, 2005

Craig, talented amateurs and B2B competition

The AP has published an interesting interview with Craig Newmark, the classified-ad entrepreneur behind craigslist. The focus of the piece is Craig's plan, still in its infancy, to create a pool of "talented amateurs" to compete against the mainstream media.
I welcome the effort, and I suspect that Craig will find some success. No one should underestimate the abilities of a man who has single-handedly altered the economics of the newspaper industry.
But Craig is interested in competing against B2C media. And perhaps the B2C media should be worried about talented amateurs.
But as I've said before, B2B publishers should be worried about something else -- talented professionals.
B2B journalism serves niche audiences. Our readers, unlike the average reader of a daily newspaper, are experts in our beats. The arrival of Internet publishing software allows these B2B experts to compete against established B2B media with ease and speed.
Consider, for example, Brandweek magazine, a well-established, well-respected, traditional B2B publication. Take a look. Read a few articles. Then visit the Corante group blog on branding. It's written and published by branding practitioners. After that, take a look at the gorgeous design and thoughtful articles of, produced by consulting firm Interbrand.
The community journalism that Craig envisions for the B2C press is already a fact in the B2B world. Are you ready for a world in which your customers are also your peers, your competitors, your rivals?