My thoughts on the magazine issue
Here lately I have seen a lot of "bashing" of 4wd mags on the board. I agree with a lot of what is said, but I feel I have to say a few things in defense of the mags.
First off, the magazines are not exactly what they appear to be on the surface. A magazine is simply a vehicle to place advertising in front of consumers. The "content" of a magazine is only there to attract readers to the advertising. The more readers they have, the more valuable the advertising space becomes. The subscription price you pay only helps to cover the costs of distribution. The salaries involved, the production costs, and the profits are paid by advertisers. This is not a terrible thing, it is simply capitalism in action. Personally I think it is a beautiful set up. The advertisers get their product exposed to a very specific market, the readers get an entertaining and informative magazine, and the publishers make money. Everyone gets what they want and no one gets screwed.
We also must recognize that without the advent of 4wd specific magazines our sport would be very different than it is today. Without the mags to promote their products the aftermarket manufacturers we rely on would not exist as they do today. They would either be very small outfits with limited product lines, or they would not exist at all. The magazines also serve to attract "new blood" to the sport, making the sport grow.
People often complain that the magazines never bash an inferior product. Of course they don't. Go badmouth the guy who signs your checks and see where it gets you! When a magazine says something negative about a product it is usually very subtle, and I would imagine they bring thier complaints to the manufacturer in question instead of publishing them in the magazine. That's how I'd do it.
Yes, they make mistakes. Sometimes glaringly bloody obvious mistakes. So do I. Thankfully mine are not regularly seen by tens of thousands of people.
Certainly the magazine system is not perfect. I have a feeling that much will be changing in the magazine business in the next few years. The internet, and forums like this one are going to force the magazines to react. I'm sure it has already begun, if I owned a magazine I would definitly have someone working very hard on figuring out how I was going to stay current and keep my advertisers.
Then there is the main reason I like subscribing to the two mags that I get. I just really enjoy grabbing that new issue out of the mailbox, sitting down with a cold beer (or two) and reading that thing from cover to cover. It's like getting a couple hours of vacation a month. I'll really miss that if the internet drives the mags out of business.
I am a "Sheetmetal Darwinist"