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post #1 of (permalink) Old 03-22-2001, 12:04 PM
utahjeepr
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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"
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-22-2001, 02:10 PM
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Re: My thoughts on the magazine issue

Good points utah. I enjoy them also but am frustrated with the quality control as of late. It's as if the guys from Car & Driver are the ones doing the editing. I do know that deadlines are part of the factor and the rush to have the first issue on the racks. I will probably continue with my subscriptions until I install a computer terminal on the "throne" which won't be anytime soon.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 03-22-2001, 06:33 PM
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Re: My thoughts on the magazine issue

Right you are. And my computer is a PITA to drag into the can, um I mean reading room.[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/blush.gif[/img]


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post #4 of (permalink) Old 03-22-2001, 07:49 PM
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Re: My thoughts on the magazine issue

My main gripe with the magazines are the product reviews they give. I realize they make money by advertising and they aren't wanting to bite the hand that feed them, but how am I supposed to trust them when they say a product is good?? They show something that I KNOW is junk and rave about it. Then when I see something that I have no experience with, how am I supposed to know if it's good?

Kinda defeats the purpose of a product review, eh?

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-22-2001, 08:03 PM
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Re: My thoughts on the magazine issue

I understand what you are saying. I just think some of the advertising is a little too blatant. I started looking at advertisments and product endorsements in magazines a little closer a few years ago. I was reading an article in B.A.S.S. magazine about caring for a boat's interior. The article was written by one of their senior editors. On the next page was a full page advdertisment for the products that he was touting as the best. I have found other magazines doing the same thing. Now, I read this BBS and ask questions of fellow Jeepers to find the best products. I still enjoy reading the magazines, but I think the highest bidder wins the endorsement in a lot of cases.

Jim
post #6 of (permalink) Old 03-22-2001, 08:41 PM
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Re: My thoughts on the magazine issue

[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/tongue.gif[/img] Yep.....you have to understand that magazines are a venue for advertising, and subscriptions are actually the minor part. Between selling ads, and selling your names to the advertisers, magazines can actually GIVE you your copy and still come out ahead. In fact, if you get a renewal offer, never take it till they offer it at a lower price. They'll do that in order to keep the mailing list from shrinking. The bigger the list....the more they can sell it for.[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif[/img] A while back, Consumer Reports....that decidedly Yuppie publication.....did an SUV evaluation. I could HARDLY RECOGNIZE the Jeep Grand Cherokee. They gave no thought to specs and then dissed it for low fuel mileage. I NEVER get less than twenty and if I'm careful....24-25MPG. That was a darn good lesson as to how accurate those kinds of magazines are.[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/frown.gif[/img] You have to remember that the "kids" who write for JP and some of the others are just that....kids. They don't necessarily have a mechanical background, and they aren't necessarily gifted with any particular skills other than BSability.[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif[/img] I couldn't make it at one of those rags because I would take too much time and try to make the article too good and too accurate and then probably miss the deadline. The other thing is that I would have a tough time pushing products that I knew were junk when they left the factory.[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif[/img] Whenever I see the DUI Ignitions systems advertised now I can't help but think about how inferior they are compared to what we have in the TR Upgrade. It would be tough indeed if I accepted advertising dollars from DUI and then had to proclaim the advantages of that system, knowing that there is a better way to go. But as someone pointed out....it's capitalism at it's best, and we sure do like reading that stuff on the crapper.[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/crazy.gif[/img][img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif[/img][img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-22-2001, 09:20 PM
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Re: My thoughts on the magazine issue

I have to point out an anomaly. I saw in this month's issue of Off Road? maybe or Four Wheeler a section where they went back to a product that they had reviewed in previous issues. I was expecting a trumpet section, but they actually came down hard on warn's winch bumper for full size GM's.

I was very surprised to see this touch of objectivity, especially considering the manufacturer. Maybe though, it only made it in to delude the reader as to the magazine's degree of honesty. Brendan

post #8 of (permalink) Old 03-23-2001, 10:43 AM
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Re: My thoughts on the magazine issue

<font color=purple>Yup, the mags are just advertising space. But, that's true of television, radio, and even ORC. And while I enjoy the magazines immensely, the publishers need to recognize that accuracy is important & the same is true of fact-based articles rather than wishy-washy reviews. Sure, the vehicle manufacturers advertise in the mags, but we BUY the mags. And while they don't make much $$$ directly from us, they do make money by telling the advertisers how many of "us" read the mags. And if they don't give us the kind of info we want, we won't read. And if we don't read, they don't sell advertising space.

So, catch-22. Do we alienate the advertisers by telling the truth? Or alienate the readers by lying. BOTH can hurt profitability.</font color=purple>

TEX

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