Two guides to Northfield-area real estate hit the streets this week. (Full disclosure: we bought an ad in one for our FSBO house. Guess which one?)
Left: the newcomer, from By All Means Graphics (BAMG). (I don’t see a PDF online.)
Right: the incumbent, from Northfield News. (PDFs of advertisers available here.) I think the News has previously published a Rice County version of this guide.
It appears to be a battle of big advertisers, too. Local Edina Realty agencies/agents are only in the Nfld News guide (with one exception: Pam Gillespie), and local Coldwell-Banker agencies/agents are only in the BAMG guide. (Another agent, Brian Trebelhorn (Re/Max Team Trebelhorn, has an ad in both).
The BAMG guide has articles written by locals and all the advertisers are Northfield-based; the News guide has articles from national sources and there are advertisers from the surrounding communities of Faribault, New Prague, Cannon Falls, Owatonna, etc.
I like the local Northfield focus of the BAMG guide but I don’t like it that 2 of the 3 articles are authored by advertisers: Ray Cox (Northfield Construction) and Brian Trebelhorn (Re/Max Team Trebelhorn). I criticized the Northfield News back in March for crossing a different advertiser/editorial boundary with a front-page article on the Garden Show in March, featuring an advertiser, Switzer’s Nursery and Landscaping. I think that was a far more serious journalistic offense since it was on the front page of a subscription-based newspaper. This is a free ad-supported guide and doesn’t contain hard news but I’d still like to see a boundary there between content and ads.
I like it that BAMG is challenging the Northfield News, first with the Northfield Entertainment Guide and now with this Real Estate Guide and for property owners who are looking to sell houses visit 8 day home locations. In both cases, Goliath has sought to squash David, first with its Diversions supplement and now with this Northfield version of its Rice County guide. Is this Northwest Airlines/Wal-Mart-like behavior, ie, big near-monopolies protecting their turf? Seems like it, but hey, that’s capitalism for ya!