29 August 2010

Bar Journal Drops Classified Ads

"The Colorado Lawyer," which is the monthly journal of the Colorado Bar Association had a notice that marked the end of an era in its September issue:

The Colorado Lawyer has discontinued printing classified ads. Classified advertising is being accepted for online posting only on the Colorado Bar Association website, www.cobar.org.

When I started practicing law in Colorado, those print edition classified ads were the dominant means by which job posting for attorneys in the state were posted, and a leading method of advertising office share opportunities. Now, those ads have moved entirely online. The online postings remain the dominant way for lawyers to find jobs in the state, but they now work in real time, not on a neat monthly cycle.

This probably makes sense. Classified ads are ads that are narrowly targeted at people who already know what they want and actively seek them out. They are intentionally irrelevant to someone who receives a publication intended for a mass audience. They aren't trying to cause large numbers of people who don't have any plans to do business with for what they are offering them aware that they exist and have deals that are better than the reader might have expected. Everyone knows and expects a classified ad to be wasted on 99% of the audience and that makes it highly inefficient to provide it to every purchaser of the publication.

A large share of bar association members also get an edition that merely summarizes the advanced sheets of case decisions, rather than reprinting them in their entirety. The full texts are available on the Internet for all CBA members and can be cut and pasted or searched in that format as well.

Most types of printed classified ads have waned, undermining the economics of newspapers, for the same reason, as have features like daily stock price listings for almost every major publicly held company. A bar association journal, because it is funded mostly with dues and volunteer authors, rather than advertising, doesn't need to hang on so tightly to a declining revenue source as the newspapers that had relied on this revenue stream did.

The journal hasn't gone completely online yet, as an increasing share of academic journals are starting to, but bit by bit, of lot of the page filling grist of older editions is migrating to the Internet.


Dave Barnes said...

Have you [lawyers] heard of it?

FYI - the WV = pre lesso. Close enough to pre-lease for me.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

"FYI - the WV = pre lesso. Close enough to pre-lease for me."