A couple of years ago, the New York Times did a piece on the poor treatment of teens hired to travel the country and sell magazine subscriptions door-to-door, but they’re not the only ones getting the raw end of the deal.
The latest issue of GOOD magazine, which arrived in our mailbox yesterday, seems to be equal parts tongue-in-cheek and an actual attempt to save money on printing. To be honest, it’s the first time we ever made it entirely through a magazine in one sitting, so in that sense we kind of like the new format, even if it’s just for one issue. Of note: if your resume sucks, you can enter it in their resume-makeover contest.
Outside Magazine offered Tracey two free 2009 Calendars if she signed up for an annual subscription early last December. She thought her dad would enjoy the magazine and the calendar, so she accepted. Now it’s March and there’s still no calendar, and Tracey says every time she calls to complain, they tell her they’ll send it. In the meantime, her dad still has no idea what day it is.
Someone needs to explain to Stonyfield Farm that free usually means that you don’t have to pay any money for the item in question. Especially in a case like this, where you’re already having to send in multiple proofs of purchase to prove you’ve “earned” the “free” item. What you find when you peel back the foil lid is some fine print that explains you also have to pay $2 for this free offer. SLR, who sent in this tip, adds, “I wrote to them via their web site asking what part of free don’t they understand, but received no reply.”
Lost amid the holiday cheer last week was the third collapse of Gawker’s favorite punching bag, Radar Magazine. We have no opinion on the magazine’s failure, but one of our readers has beef with Radar‘s proposal to fill remaining subscriptions.
Buying something from Best Buy? Check your receipt, you may have been signed up for a magazine subscription and you didn’t even know it.
Here’s a reminder that one must remain ever vigilant against shady direct mail offers that masquerade as bills that you are expecting.
“If Radiohead can do it, so can we,” writes GOOD on their subscription page. They’ve temporarily changed their subscription model from $20 annually to pay-what-you-can, as long as it’s at least one dollar. If you’re on a restricted budget but want the hard copy version of GOOD, here’s your chance. [GOOD]
Condé Nast marketing department, are you on crack? Have you put some trinket from “The Hills” in charge of your mail server? Justin has emailed you repeatedly to tell you to stop spamming him. His marketing preferences on your site show a vast field of “No” for every single title on your list. And yet he’s received 16 emails since his last request—almost three a month. You should know better—or, as Justin puts it, “This isn’t some Nigerian guy trying to make my penis larger or send me money, this is a company here, in the United States, that I know should be held accountable.”
First, we want to say thanks to TIME Magazine for naming us one of their top 25 blogs. Now that’s out of the way, and we can ask why they’re using such a misleading ad on the masthead of their site: “Subscribe to TIME Magazine for just $1.99” it says! Yes, but when you click through to the sign up form, you see that your “subscription” is for six issues—six weeks—and that the fine print indicates you also agree to an auto-renewed fee of $19.95 every six months. We don’t mind the $1.99 tryout period, but hiding the real subscription fee in fine print is sneaky. Any magazine with the good taste to recognize our blog should also respect its readers enough to be upfront on the details of its subscription offers.
“The Astrologer” magazine shuttered in December 2007 due to “unforeseen circumstances.” Hmm. [Neatorama]
We’ve received two letters claiming that Hollywood video is signing their customers up for magazine subscriptions without their consent. The scam sounds similar to the ones that Best Buy is accused of in their on-going racketeering lawsuit.
You’re busy: you don’t have time to shop, or to read magazines, or to look at magazines for ideas to guide you when you go shopping, which you’re not going to do because you’re too busy. Luckily Slate has pre-digested the gift guides from ten magazines including Vogue, Maxim, Consumer Reports, and Gourmet, then barfed them up like an HTML mama bird for your shopping convenience.
Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson annotated a typical magazine subscription card to showcase its numerous lies. He asks, “Why do magazine circulation departments treat people like idiots?” Then he answers his own question: “because it works.”
Kevin Trudeau isn’t the only one writhing in the icy grip of justice this week—one-time magazine subscription entrepreneur Richard L. Prochnow was ordered to pay over $7 million a few weeks ago when the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a judgment from July of 2006. Prochnow ran Direct Sales International (DSI), a bad magazine company that lied to customers and trapped them in a “buying club” that charged monthly fees and was very difficult to cancel.
Bill Moyers produced an excellent segment on media consolidation and its disproportionate impact on minorities. African Americans and Hispanics account for over a quarter of the population, but own just 33 of the nation’s 1,350 television stations, and only 6% of radio stations. According to Melody Spann-Cooper, owner of Chicago’s only black-owned radio station:
Radio has moved from being in the business of empowering and educating people to Wall Street, to making money. And that’s not the big corporate conglomerates, you know, that’s not their fault. They were allowed to do this.