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October 30, 2007

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Sogundiran

I need to tout a great blog here http://badpitch.blogspot.com/ that speaks to Chris' post. As PR professional, the content on this blog has been invaluable to my learning/growth (and often offers a good laugh at some of the BAD PR practices still being practiced).

To say the least, I still cringe sometimes when I'm sending an email to a journalist who I don't have a relationship with, but feel s/he would be interested in the story. I think the best way for PR folk to curb this fear and refrain from getting on lists similar to those above is to READ what being written on your topic and target the folk who're writing on it. It's that simple and that necessary!

Mike K.

Chris, while it is very clever that you are using negative externalities to relate Global Warming and Spam, it isn't a relevant response to the commenters on your previous post.

You are personally (and publically) attacking people whose roles in your "pissed-offedness" may not be as direct as you think. Do you personally attack store clerks if you disagree with their company's policies?

Given the title of this latest post, I would consider it just as fair to mention the connection between your blog and terrorism against the United States, since you apparently find it justified to attack innocents in order to get the attention of those you are not important enough to reach.

Josh Patrick

As annoying as the response cards are, the dunning for subscription renewal that is two or three years in advance is even more annoying. There are magazines I liked but refused to renew because of the insistent renewal notices. You might want to have your marketing department add that to the list of negative experiences.

Djimn Hovnbg

The solution to blow-in cards is to send them all back, blank. Business reply mail is a wonderful thing, and it's too bad you can't still tape the card to a brick and send that.

Josie

Yuck. Steve Rubel tried to use economics to explain marketing and he messed up. Now you too. Just stick to whatever you know, Chris. Like psychology or whatever the hell you're going to have for breakfast. Stop butchering economic theory so you can pretend you weren't high the whole time in college.

blooflame

About those subscription cards: could you at least refrain from sending them to people that are already subscribers? I can see putting them in the newsstand issues, but since I'm already a subscriber I don't need them.

Michel de Becdelièvre

"or renewal request nine months before your subscription really expires."

Great remark, this is EXACTLY what caused me to "forget" to renew my subscription to "The Economist" after a few years.

They called back personally a few month later (badly accented English, probably from some third world call center) and I was still enough pissed off to refuse the "special price" offer (which always happens to be the standard subscription rate if you bother to check).

I'm surprised that a weekly, specialized in economics and in the study of externalities, falls in this bozo marketing trap.

How dumb do they think their readers are ?

Zohar

Hello Chris,
I accept the last post from you as a private person, but as a representative of a magazine that acts in a similar way (even subscribers get the subscription blow-in cards), I find it problematic. I like the act of what you did, but this will not actually stop either spammers or PR-spammers from stopping doing it. As a Graphic Designer, a lot clients I had wanted to get a list with all the emails they can have, in order to send them their catalogue, brochure, etc. without thinking on the consequences. This is how it is.

Spaminator

THE STERN STANCE:
'If their address gets harvested by spammers by being published here, so be it--turnabout is fair play.'

THE PUNK-A*S BACK PEDDLE:
'It may encourage spammers to target them, too, although I actually doubt my post will have much effect in that way, nor did I intend it to do so.)'
Nice!

usome

The solution to blow-in cards is to send them all back, blank. Business reply mail is a wonderful thing, and it's too bad you can't still tape the card to a brick and send that.

Ivan Kirigin

A good chunk of the magazine is composed of Ads I don't care for. Ideally, you could remove that paper as well. Perhaps linking a reddit profile and modding behavior with a Wired subscription could help print custom targeted ads.

I'd be interested in giving Wired more information about me, if only to make the Ads that must be there higher quality.

What is the cost of custom printed magazines? What kind of ad response improvement would be needed to justify the cost?

Also, you could experiment with a high subscription fee for ad free magazines.

Ivan Kirigin

As far as climate change is concerned, there are negative internalities for things that actually matter most. I can guarantee that paper inserts are orders of magnitude less impactful than the heating or AC used in the households they're delivered to.

I worry about the complexity of carbon cap-trade or tax schemes.

Considering most carbon output is from some derivative of coal & petroleum, through direct use or indirect energy generation and consumption, a tax on those two items alone would be much better.

It would de facto be a carbon tax, it would be much simpler, and it would exaggerate the negative internalities already experienced, namely the cost of energy and products.

The proceed could go towards research to find better energy sources, which will again have a much higher impact on the environment than marginal magazine trimmings.

Troped

@Mike K - Seriously? Terrorism? You *must* work in marketing because that is some insanely intense hyperbole.

Chris, I couldn't agree with you more. The Washington Post puts spam internet traffic at nearly 40% of all internet traffic. Include the unsolicited (unresearched) garbage that you get and we're talking about more than half of the Internet's traffic. Both marketing and PR people need to read the Cluetrain Manifesto and realize that talking *at* people is not the same as talking *with* them. The former is something that individuals living in a new communications era are going to hate more and more.

Arnie Huberman

The reason why you get so much ill-informed Pr emails goes to the nature of P.R. Agencies. I know you know this - your PR person works on one account, WIRED. If he/she worked at an agency, WIRED would be one of 4-5 accounts handled, and many agency people take the easy way out and spam any publication that may REMOTELY be relevant, as opposed to strategizing and targeting a publication with a specific, relevant story. Unfortunately, it has always been this way and agency economics prevent it from changing much. You did the PR industry a service by speaking out in the manner you did. Now, Wanna take a guess as to how many of the offenders actually READ the magazine??

Kelly

"Wanna take a guess as to how many of the offenders actually READ the magazine??"

A very good point, if they had read the magazine in the first place, they probably wouldn't have made the list! As someone with experience from all sides involved (PR background, working in the email marketing industry and blogger) I don't think 'outing' these people was so wrong. Yes people working at PR agencies perhaps don't have the time to target specific journalists and send relevant pitches, but that's the problem of the PR agencies, not the recipients of their spam.

Brian Hamill

Chris: I've never understood this boorishness with a bullhorn mentality within the media that feigns 'pissoffedness' over junk mail, spam, magazine blow in cards, carryout menus on doorknobs, street pampleteers, panhandlers. You are revealing a ridiculous affectation. As you point out, your employer is as bad as anyone else with their blow in cards. Yet, from time to time, we've all fished one out of the trash, uncrumpled it, and sent in a subscription, glad we rescued it. I would guess the vast majority of spammers are people desperate just to survive in a ruthlessly competititive world, which somehow spawned a lot of expeditious technology like the internet, and, in turn, your magazine. Should all these offending marketers first request the indulgence of a moment of your time, my good dear sire? No. That would be another affection, of which we need no more. A billboard does not need permission to fall within your gaze. Spam and the rest is no different. It does not compromise the citadel of your imagined privacy. Spam didn't break in, you let it in. You can also have an unlisted phone number, but if you have a telephone, don't be surprised if people you don't know call you. Most grown-up are aware of this.
By the way, great blog! BH

Joel Newton

The first thing I do when my shiny new WIRED issue arrives is tear out all of these cards. I truly hate them. The above comments about limiting this practice to the newsstand or experimenting with higher priced ad-free issues struck a nerve. I'd be the first to sign up!

Leslie Carbone

Those BRM subscription cards? How 'bout dropping them in mailboxes blank--as a way of helping mags quantify the costs of those annoying pieces of oversized confetti? :-) If you really want to make a point, maybe you could tape them to something heavy.

Leslie Carbone

Those BRM subscription cards? How 'bout dropping them in mailboxes blank--as a way of helping mags quantify the costs of those annoying pieces of oversized confetti? :-) If you really want to make a point, maybe you could tape them to something heavy.

Sektör

Great remark, this is EXACTLY what caused me to "forget" to renew my subscription to "The Economist" after a few years.

Bill Bradford

This applies to the latest "Supplements" that have come with my past couple copies of Wired, such as "Movies Rock!" and "Fashion Rocks!". Who at Conde Nast though that someone subscribing to Wired (a technology news magazine) would care one bit about a supplement ("Fashion Rocks") that looked like it should have shipped with Cosmo instead?

I counted one issue of Wired a couple months ago, it was around 65% full-page ads if you went by page count. This latest issue seems to be even thicker and worse; at least 10 pages (mostly full-page ads) before the table of contents!

Even at only "83 cents an issue!" I'm having to rethink renewing my subscription due to having to plow through so many ads before I get to the actual content. I know its most likely a Conde Nast thing, but it's still annoying.

VonSkippy

Since feedback on how many people are pissed off is required, I suggest everyone take those Postage PREPAID cards, write "SOD OFF" in a nice big red felt pen, and drop them in the post.

Even the most moronic of marketing depts. will soon become aware (at 29 cents a card - or whatever the bulk mail rate is this week) how much people hate those cards.

That way, the more blow in cards in EACH magazine - the more it costs the magazine with ZERO conversion to subscriptions. It'd be effective if more people did it.

Keith

"we've all fished one out of the trash, uncrumpled it, and sent in a subscription"

No Brian, we haven't. I'm nearly 50 years old, have subscribed to dozens and dozens of magazines, and have never filled out one of those cards. Never. Those cards always list the most expensive subscription price offered. You can always beat that price with one online search, or in the old days, a single 800-call to a magazine distributor.

Hmmm, okay I must admit I don't remember how I subscribed to "My Weekly Reader" in elementary school...might have been one of those cards :)

oyunlar1

we've all fished one out of the trash, uncrumpled it, and sent in a subscription"

No Brian, we haven't. I'm nearly 50 years old, have subscribed to dozens and

kral oyun

Yuck. Steve Rubel tried to use economics to explain marketing and he messed up. Now you too. Just stick to whatever you know, Chris. Like psychology or whatever the hell you're going to have for breakfast. Stop butchering economic theory so you can pretend you weren't high the whole time in college

araba

Those BRM subscription cards? How 'bout dropping them in mailboxes blank--as a way of helping mags quantify the costs of those annoying pieces of oversized confetti? :-) If you really want to make a point, maybe you could tape them to something heavy.

süperloto

The solution to blow-in cards is to send them all back, blank. Business reply mail is a wonderful thing, and it's too bad you can't still tape the card to a brick and send that.

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Tidbits

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

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