"Free" magazine?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I'm sure I'm about to bring the ire of many down on my head but here goes.....
A few threads back, there was an offer by another poster to send in cards for "free" subscriptions to Small Farm magazine. I'm not familiar with it but I am familiar with Small Farm Today published in Clark MO by Ron Macher.
If it is indeed Small Farm Today, please don't send in those cards if your intention is a free long term subscription. Use it to decide if SFT is something you would like to continue to receive then PAY for it. SFT is a small family owned publication much like Countryside and I have known the family for quite some time. They are good, hard working, sincere people trying to make a living by helping others succeed on their own small farms. I don't think it's particularly fair or even ethical to abuse an otherwise generous offer to test out a new magazine. This is an advertising tool for SFT and although they expect to pay for advertising, I don't think they mean to subsidize free reading for the masses. Think about what you are truly doing and if you are comfortable with taking something to which you are not entitled, be my guest. In the meantime, I have forwarded this post to Ron.
-- marilyn (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 20, 2001
While I don't know the publishing family or their intentions I do have a comment. I get many magazines via free subscriptions in my business. 'Small Business Computing' is one which comes to mind because it just came in today's mail. I'm sure I get somewhere in the neighborhood of half a dozen different titles monthly. The business model I believe these publishers are using is essentially to garner all of their income from advertisers who pay a premium to be in such a widely distributed and specialized magazine.
As an example, one title (Successful Dealer) goes exclusively to dealer/owners, principles and general managers in the truck business. These are the decision makers for major purchases in the industry. If an company has a product or service for truck dealers like a specialized computer management system that's who they want to reach. If there's a new indirect lender who wants into the truck financing business that lender needs to reach these people exclusively. What a tremendous value to those advertisers to be able to reach their niche market directly like this. The publisher benefits by having more "free subscribers" because they can tout that to their advertisers and charge rates accordingly.
I would think the same business model could well work for a magazine aimed at small farmers. Where better to advertise smaller scale farm specialty items? I don't ever recall seeing milk cans advertised in Time or Newsweek. ;o)
As I said, I don't know what their business model is. I don't know if you do. I only wanted to point out that it's very possible they DO want as many of the kind of people you just attempted to shame away from subscribing. More free subscribers may be exactly what they want.
-- Gary in Indiana (email@example.com), July 21, 2001.
I'll second the recommendation of "Small Farm Today." I had a question about scythes (from one of their recent articles) and called the office to find out where to get good ones. Ron sent me a couple of sources along with a handwritten note. Just try that with Newsweek and see what you get!
-- Laura Jensen (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 21, 2001.
I have learned that it is two different magazines and Small Farm's goal may indeed be what Gary outlined. However, Small Farm Today isn't a free, advertiser-driven magazine.
As I said, I've known the Machers since the very early 80's and I know how hard he has worked to get SFT started and keep it going. I just couldn't stand seeing his rewards diminished.
-- marilyn (email@example.com), July 21, 2001.
Marilyn, the offer was for three free months on a trial subscription. I didn't get the impression it was free forever, though it did seem the original poster was mysteriously receiving her subscription for free and unsolicited (gift subscription? Contest winner?) At any rate, it was clearly stated the offer was for three, and only three, free months. That's all I was expecting and I didn't have the impression anyone else was expecting any more. I hardly think taking advantage of such an offer amounts to stealing the magazine.
I've met Ron Macher (though I doubt he remembers me, I was one of I'm sure a steady stream of people he met at the last 3 small farm conferences) and I'm certainly not out to rip him off. Yes, I did ask for one of the postcards. I certainly intend to send it in if I get one. In any case, I'll probably get a year's subscription - if not via this special offer (not stealing to take advantage of it, after all he printed the postcards now, didn't he?) then at the small farm conference, when they discount the subscription price. I couldn't afford it - even at the discounted price - last year or the year before.
I'm struggling just as hard as Ron Macher ever did, and I'll certainly take advantage of any break he'll give me. Oddly enough, from what little I know of Ron Macher, I kind of have the impression that he's well aware of how hard some of his subscribers have to scrimp to scrape up the greenbacks to pay for a subscription. I rather doubt he's locked himself in his office, brooding with blackened brow over the evil small farmers and homesteaders who are actually taking him up on any of the various discount rates SFT occassionally offers its subscribers.
btw, the current (at the time) issue of SFT will be available for free at the small farm conference. Anybody who goes can pick up a copy. That won't be stealing either.
-- Sojourner (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 21, 2001.
A lot of these style of magazines "grandfather" their original (non-) subscribers in. That is, they establish themselves with advertising revenue as above, but not making much if any profit, then move across to a subscription model. However, they'll (often) maintain faith with the original people who built their numbers by keeping them on the list for free, even when they will no longer extend that offer to new subscribers. So - a free three-month trial subscription is likely to be just that, and if they're offering it there's quite a good chance they've budgeted for it.
-- Don Armstrong (email@example.com), July 21, 2001.
There are 2 ways to look at this picture, one in the negative as Marilyn stated and one in the positive as some of the others stated. You can look a tthe situation and think, "Ok, he is getting ripped off and loosing revenue for his magazine." or think, "Ok, heres a way to reach even more potential subscribers and advertizers." I would really like to find out more about both magazines since I have not heard of either. A free sample would be great in that case and if I liked it I would subscribe and then tell my friends and associates, etc who might like it as well and subscribe, and thus the subscribers would increase by taking the risk of giving free subscriptions.
Or maybe Marilyn.... you might suggest to your friend to not place free sample cards in his magazine. Then that way he won't loose revenue.
-- Bernice (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 21, 2001.
Okay, I'm the "culprit" that offered to send in the postcards. We are talking totally different magazines here. The postcard subscription requests are from American Small Farm. It is a glossy, heavily advertisement-filled little magazine. It is corporation owned, and published in Westerville Ohio. I wasn't trying to rip anyone off,and I am not affiliated with it in any way. Incidently, since I got a lot more requests than I have postcards, I am sending all the extra name and addresses in a letter to the magazine. I believe they do this because the price they get for advertising is based on circulation, and what better way to "up" your circulation than to send it free? Kathie
-- Kathie in Western Washington (email@example.com), July 21, 2001.
Holy shomley, I guess just about anything can cause controversy in here. Who needs to politics and religion? Film at eleven.
-- Karen (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 21, 2001.
Marilyn---there are many farm magazines and (American) SMALL FARM IS FREE!!!
I quit getting Small Farm Today when they arrived late with schedules of events for the month that just passed. They kept telling me excuses like"yours was one that got left on the loading dock" etc. This went on through several years. Never once got one during the first month of its issue date.
-- D (magazine email@example.com), July 22, 2001.
To clarify, there is no such magazine as Small Farm Magazine, and several readers of the e-mail have confused it with us, Small Farm Today magazine. The confusion appears to arise from our newer competitor, American Small Farm magazine. They print the "American" very small above "Small Farm" causing the confusion. Why do they do this? Poor marketing, or perhaps wishing the confusion with us. We asked them to desist from the use of "Small Farm" by itself in mailings, and they have complied (as far as we know). There is still confusion among readers, however. Small Farm Today is the 16-year-old how-to magazine of alternative and traditional crops, livestock, and direct marketing. Its goal is to make family farmers profitable. Sample issues are $4.95, and a subscription is $23.95/year (6 issues). Call 800-633-2535 to subscribe or get a sample copy or to get a brochure and list of back issues, or for more information, see www.smallfarmtoday.com Although we are not free (being a small company), our readers are supportive, and we publish useful information for small farmers (unlike some competitors who publish information on, say, GPS or 100 Hp tractors). Hope this clarifies things. Please pass this on to anyone you know of that received the "Small Farm" e-mail. Paul Berg, Managing Editor Small Farm Today magazine firstname.lastname@example.org 800-633-2535
-- Paul Berg (email@example.com), July 23, 2001.