New York Times Company introduces self-serve local ads on its blogs

fort-greene_mainIn a post on The Local, a three-month-old New York Times blog targeted to the historic-meets-hip-hop Fort Greene and Clinton Hill neighborhoods of Brooklyn, editor Jim Schachter explained the site’s new “hyperlocal” ads that advertisers can set up themselves. The beginning CPM (“cost per mille,” the price for 1,000 impressions) is $5, which means that five bucks gets your ad shown to a thousand people.

The Local is going after plumbers and pizza parlors, hoping they’ll choose the site over Google, Craigslist or other ads not pegged to a neighborhood publication. “The idea is to create an affordable place to advertise local businesses, restaurants, services and events,” Schachter said.

The New York Times Company is looking for revenue everywhere, after suffering continually dwindling ad income and continually dwindling profits for the past few years. A big part of The Local’s design is that compared to The New York Times’ flagship newspaper, it’s an informal, colloquial blog. That could prove to be a good wrapper for neighborhoody ads that aren’t overly slick. In ways such as this, the Times seems to be trying to invent its own competition.

(Disclosure: Paul Boutin is a freelance contributor to the Times.)