Until recently [things good or bad are in the past...the present is different], I'd never worked at a publication where we did not hear the refrain: "They are giving them away."
Now some good guys I worked with visit this site...don't get me wrong. We always tried.
This relates to the competition, who somehow always sell lower than us. We are talking about advertising pages here. As I have had the opportunity to switch from one pub to a competitve pub, I've had in turn the opportunity to observe the phenonona from opposite sides of the spectrum.
Many times I had correlative evidence that this was in fact true. Companies went out of business, but publications would continue to run their ads. They had the 'mechanicals' and they ran with them. But it got to where I had to grudgingly admire the competition merely for obtaining those mechanicals [over 20 years the mechanical, read: actual, version of the ad was often more daunting to obtain than was the money for the ad [one place I worked was bought and sold and the new accountant told me no one in the previous regime had ever tried to receive accountables for any ads they'd run but not received pay for.]].
Which leads to this Chronicle adage -
They may be giving it away but even that takes work.
What's it supposed to mean? Don't count out the competition too quick. Keep an eye on your processes. Is it easy to work with your orgainization? As easy as it should be?