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It is depressing for online newspapers that Yahoo! and other portals generally outpace them in their own communities. But not so fast, says Shawn Riegsecker, a founder of Centro, an ad network dedicated to localizing ad buys for national marketers, such as GM.

"Any of the four portals have over twice the reach of a newspaper Web site in any community," Riegsecker says. But according to comScore, "roughly half the portals traffic is made up of utilities such as Technologies/Applications/Mail." When this is stripped out to allow for an apple-to-apple comparison of content traffic, "guess what? The local industry, mostly made up of online newspapers, actually beats the portals from a reach perspective."

Riegsecker acknowledges "the incredible advantage the utilities' traffic gives the portals over the online newspaper industry with regards to reach and available inventory for sale." But he adds, "it’s a compelling reason for newspapers to do whatever they can in their communities to begin beefing up on as much utilities, applications and other services to increase ‘usership’ and inventory available for sale."

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