This is your last issue (until next month)

18Sep08

A few years ago, I started receiving a business magazine that I never subscribed to. It was free, so I didn’t think much of it. But once the “subscription” ran out, they started asking me to renew by filling out an information card. They didn’t want money, just more info about me. Since I never asked for the magazine in the first place, I ignored the request and hoped the magazine would just stop coming.

Boy was I wrong about that. Instead of cancelling my subscription, the magazine people kept sending new issues. Each copy was wrapped in a garish cover that said “This is your last issue!” This has been going on for at least six months now. Funny, I would have thought “last issue” means you won’t get any more copies after that.

In my estimation, magazines are desperate to pad their subscriber numbers so they can sell more ads. No big deal, right? Well, there’s a larger problem here: every “last issue” they send is an outright lie. It erodes the trust that subscribers place in the publisher, and cheapens the value of the magazine. If they’re willing to beg you to take the magazine for free and lie about what’s going on, why should you believe anything written on the pages? I wonder if the brilliant marketing people who designed their renewal strategy ever thought about that.



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