Friday, September 21, 2007

At what point should magazines be paying us?

I have decided not to renew my subscription to Parenting Magazine. Though we do not have any kids, I thought it would be a good idea to subscribe for various reasons, one being that we wanted some magazines for weekend morning reading material. Money Magazine was among my initial purchase, but that also will not be renewed. The articles in it are fairly fluffy and although sometimes entertaining, there is far more useful information elsewhere.

Anyway, the reason that I will not be renewing Parenting is that it not only contains very few real parenting tips, but it is almost entirely a mechanism of product advertisement. All magazines have ads, but even the articles in Parenting are usually little more than cleverly disguised product placements. Nearly every "solution" in any article involves the purchase of some commercial product. Even the recipes, which should be fairly inoculous, suspiciously include brand names or processed/frozen goods.

I can ignore the blatant disregard for the male role in parenting in this magazine, and the frequently useless (and rare) male-focused article and the general tone of the entire publication that men do little to nothing in the way of child rearing, making way for "super mom" because as my wife says they are just embracing the stereotype.

I can ignore it because the entire magazine is insulting. When they are not hawking merchandise and "must have" lists that are overflowing with junk that no practical parent could ever possibly need they are filling pages with reader-contributed materials and common-sense tips. Apart from actually putting all the material together, I am at a loss to figure out what content the editors actually produce. I feel violated that I have essentially paid to be advertised to while trying to trick me into believing they are delivering original and useful information.

This magazine, and others like it, should just be made available on the free rack.


Jim said...

I no longer subscribe to any magazine because I have a friend who actually works for one and the bulk of their business is the ads. If you want something with actual content you need to find newsletters. When you buy those things in the stores, the rates are jacked way up. The Google has more advice than those things.

Beyond the Consumer said...

Indeed. Not only that but instead of sending you friendly renewal requests, they send you what looks like a collections letter. If you ignore it they continue sending them with PAST DUE and various threats written on them.

The whole magazine industry (at least in my latest experience) gives me pause.