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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Seattle Weekly’s Corporate Parent Fined $15.6 Million for Predatory Pricing

posted by on March 5 at 15:08 PM

Village Voice Media, the chain that owns Seattle Weekly, lost a decision in San Francisco court today. VVM’s San Francisco edition, The San Francisco Weekly, got dinged for $15.6 million in a predatory pricing suit filed by local independent weekly The Bay Guardian, according to the Association of Alternative News Weeklies.

Predatory pricing—selling ads below cost with the goal of putting your competition out of business—is typically something alt weeklies cover, not something they get caught and fined for.

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Now everybody point and laugh!!!


(there, I said what you meant to)

Posted by Non | March 5, 2008 3:22 PM

VVM shouldn't get to call itself "alternative."

Posted by keshmeshi | March 5, 2008 3:47 PM

When the Weekly does a post (yes, they have a blog) about the Stranger it gets lots of comments (in fact, they seem to be the only posts that get any comments at all) ... when the Slog does a post about the Weekly, no one cares.

No one cares about the Weekly.

Posted by Miriam | March 5, 2008 3:49 PM


You guys are so desperate and obsessed. How much time do you spend searching for dirt on Village Voice media?

The SF Weekly is obviously a completely different newspaper, and a completely different ad sales staff, in another city, thousands of miles away. What ever goes on in their offices has nothing at all to do with the Seattle Weekly.

Shouldn't you be bothering people in Olympia?

Posted by We don't care | March 5, 2008 4:12 PM

Don't listen to #4.

Celebrity feuds are GREAT!

When are you going to have a slap fight with the Weakly?

That's actually a good idea as a fundraiser...a big slapdown between the Weakly, the GSn (oops, I mean SGN) and the Stranger. I'd pay big bucks to see Savage and Bakan go at it, mano a mano.


Posted by michael strangeways | March 5, 2008 4:19 PM

A sizeable fine as a result of a court decision isn't a microscopic moment.

Posted by Roy | March 5, 2008 4:23 PM

Who defines "cost"? Is there some alt weekly overlord that sets the price of advertising in alt weeklies? How is there a concrete enough definition for it to even be a crime?

So, if I, say, run a donut shop and I sell my donuts for a lower price than the other places, am *I* practicing predatory pricing?

Posted by Gomez | March 5, 2008 4:25 PM

Exactly #7.

The Bay Guardian couldn't handle the competition, so they came up with this lawsuit. All "alt weeklies" sell ads at discount, there's not much of an issue here.

Posted by we don't care | March 5, 2008 4:37 PM

Greatest example of utter corporate stupidity in the 21st Century so far: When Village Voice Media fired Robert Christgau, Dean of American Rock Critics, from the Village Voice. Sorta like if Sony Music were to seize control of Arcade Fire and fire Win Butler.

Corporations: Inherently evil and inherently stupid since 1886!

Posted by Jeff Stevens | March 5, 2008 4:45 PM

There's alt weekly papers here in San Francisco?

Posted by Dougsf | March 5, 2008 4:56 PM

Wait a minute....Doesn't Jennifer Maerz, former Stranger music editor (back when the Stranger was great) currently work at the SF Weekly? And Dan Savage(!) is also regular contributor there. Wow!

So as it turns out, the Stranger has closer ties with the SF Weekly than the Seattle Weekly does! Heh!

Posted by Geraldo | March 5, 2008 5:01 PM

Hey @4, how long you worked at the Weakly?

And @11, are you referring to Savage Love, which is syndicated all over the world? That doesn't count.

Posted by RatGirl | March 5, 2008 5:24 PM

The SF Weekly actually shares content with the Seattle Weekly, among other sources under the VVM umbrella. That's the beauty of media consolidation, a huge pool of national content that might eventually be cause for the evaporation of writing jobs.

People used to read the SF Weekly because they didn't give a shit about some east bay restaurant review running in the SFBG, now they're stuck looking at movie times in New York accidentally running in their local paper (that actually happens).

Posted by Dougsf | March 5, 2008 5:30 PM

@12 Of course he's syndicated all over the world, he's everywhere, we all know that. But it does count, this is a witch hunt.

Posted by Geraldo | March 5, 2008 5:32 PM

I am Ronaldinho, Geraldo. RONALDINHO.

Posted by Ronaldinho | March 5, 2008 6:07 PM

Nah, the Stranger would never do such a thing. You just write a shitty restaurant review and then make nice with a free ad. And no, I don't work at the Weekly - I work at a daily so suck my dick.

Posted by Pot? | March 5, 2008 6:08 PM

Interesting, because a side-by-side comparison of the Stranger and the Weekly shows that ad revenue is virtually the same at both papers.

And isn't that what determines the validity and success of a newspaper? I mean, say all you want about award-winning journalism but last a checked those little trophies don't exactly bring in any money.

So keep whining about your competitor, you're still not beating them.

Posted by I'm a Nuclear Bomb | March 5, 2008 6:42 PM

I live in SF. Both alts here are garbage. I have no idea what the Seattle Weekly is like but if it's anything like the SF Weekly then it's trash too.
There's no doubt that the SF Weekly was using their chain to rub out their competitor. But they did it so stupidly that not only did they loose millions in the process they got busted for it.
The jokers who own the SF Weekly and all it's clones across the country aren't evil geniuses they're in fact dopes that are trying to cheat to stay alive.

Posted by Don Wise | March 5, 2008 7:01 PM

So tell me...who does ALL of the Strangers national advertising? Could it be Ruxton? I do believe that they are part of VVM and don't all but one of the VVM papers carry Savage Love?

In tail; it looks like the Stranger really shouldn't have anything to bitch about.

Posted by conspiracy | March 6, 2008 1:00 PM

Should so.

Posted by spin city | March 6, 2008 1:45 PM

I don't know about this I would think that The Stranger wouldn't want to talk trash about this as they carry the same practices as the paper being sued. I have a lot of friends that are business owners and I myself do promotions around town. I've asked them what they pay for their ads and The Stranger typically low balls The Weekly on a consistent basis. One of my friends even said that they offered them a price break if they didn't run with The Weekly. Isn't that even beyond Predatory Pricing???

Plus if what that guy #19 says is true that's pretty pathetic if their ads are bought by a Village Voice Company and that is true about Savage being on their payroll via Savage Love.

I really think they should down play this because karma can be a bitch.

Posted by YoHelms | March 6, 2008 5:26 PM

Point and laugh at how lame it is that we waste our time on the Slog...

HAHAHA it's fun to live in my mom's basement...


Posted by Non | March 6, 2008 5:29 PM

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