By: Wayne Robins
Online action continues to be where the auction is.
Three West Coast E.W. Scripps newspaper sites will be holding online auctions Aug. 25 through Sept. 10. The sites, however, are taking a more focused approach to auctions, keying in on vacation and leisure activities: Weekend getaways, resort packages, golf vacations, and restaurant deals.
“These are things people are doing and going to spend money on anyway,” said Stephen Dana, director of new media for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star. The auction will be held on the Star‘s site, http://www.insidevc.com, as well as those of smaller Scripps papers, the Redding, Calif. Record Searchlight (http://www.redding.com) and The (Bremerton, Wash.) Sun (http://www.thesunlink.com).
While other auction companies like CityXpress provide packages for online auctions in which retailers offer discounted new merchandise in exchange for retail ad space in the print newspaper, the Scripps auctions are online-to-online only. “We give them online advertising, as well as value adds like banners on the Web site,” Dana said.
Though the three newspaper sites may be local, the push is national thanks to promotions on Scripps’ TV network sites, [Home & Garden] HGTV and the Food Network. “It’s a way of driving traffic nationally,” Dana said. “Auctions hold potential for generating revenues, establishing relationships with advertisers we’d never had before, as well as allowing us to develop a database of bidders,” who by participating show an evident comfort with online commerce.