Only a few weeks ago I received an email from ‘Beckie’, editor of ‘Koi Magazine’, a UK ‘Specialist’ Koi publication to say I was banned from making posts on their website forum and that the ban would take place immediately. It did take place and to add to it, they not only stopped me from making posts, they also barred my IP address so I could no longer even VIEW the forum – some kind of ‘Hitler Remedy’.
This is how it read –
I am emailing you to inform you that you have been removed from our forum. We have rules in place regarding self promotion and advertising, which you have repeatedly broken, and we also feel that you have tried to incite arguments over and over again. These are the reasons we are banning you.
Thank you for your time,
Here was my reply –
In view of the fact that your bulletin board is a commercial entity Beckie, I’ll wear your ban with great pride. However, I find it hard to recall ever ‘self-promoting’ myself or any products I may have. Regarding ‘incitements’ – they ALL occurred after your paying advertisers and their enlisted cronies threw the first punches. Unfortunately I replied!
So your reasons as to why I have been banned are ‘lame’ at best. Please record this email because sometime in the future, if you are still in the same job and if your magazine is still in existence – you may find you will need me.
A word of advice, why don’t you and your staff attempt to learn something about Koi & their keeping – it may help your publication.
Again, thank you for your notification.
I also requested an official badge from the magazine to state I had been ‘banned’ so that I could ‘Wear it with Pride’ but it sadly never arrived.
Be under no misapprehension, this magazine relies ENTIRELY on the joint revenue from advertisers (90%) and direct mail subscribers (10%) – hence the ‘SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAGAZINE’ seen in every issue. The actual copies of the magazines produced every month that are purchased and read is tiny in comparison to the amount printed.
As a result, the unsold piles of magazines are open to ‘rack-jobbers’ who have managed to secure contracts with all the large sellers of magazines. In the UK these are W. H. Smith; Asda; Tesco and a few others. These ‘rack jobbers’ have been awarded their contracts on a very, very delicate ‘agreement’ from the stores. The stores give them a running footage of area to fill in their stores, the height of which will hold a depth of 8 magazine fronts, the running length varies with the sizes of the stores. The stores specify that each foot of rack space given must earn themselves £X amount per week in profit and that they will only actually pay for any magazine 30 days after it has been purchased through the till by the customer. If this profit is not achieved, the rack jobber will be out and then the space will be quickly turned over to ladies underwear or birthday cards etc.
The rack jobbers are well aware of this and viewing height for the magazines is of paramount importance – hence the best sellers are displayed at eye-level and stacked deeply, some may have three spaces to sell from. The top shelves are usually the toned-down girlie-type mags (keep them away from the kiddies) and the eye-level ones are usually car magazines followed by the ladies household magazines, men’s health magazines and celeb mags. Next follows the Hi-Fi & Computer mags together with the very popular Carp Angling and other angling magazines and gardening periodicals. In larger stores you may, from time to time, find (on the bottom shelf which one has to bend down to pick up) the dozens of ‘specialist’ magazines such as ‘Knitting Weekly’; ‘Snowboarding Monthly’; ‘Your Bonsai’ and just possibly ‘Koi Magazine’ that the rack jobber thinks just may sell a couple of copies to impulse buyers.
(You will also notice that all these magazines will carry the month say ‘October 2009’ when the prospective buyer knows he is looking at it in September 2009. This is vital for impulse sales where the buyer feels he is getting the latest one when in truth it is the September magazine with October printed on the cover. When the rack jobber replaces the older issues with the new ones, the older issues are dumped to waste having reached their sell-by date.)
In the respect of ‘Koi’ magazine, the publisher may be lucky to receive the odd 30p per copy some 30 days after sale after the rack jobber has taken out his cut and transportation costs have been met. In any case, it’s better than dumping all of them on a waste skip after all storage space has been taken up at the offices – but that always comes around. Please discount ‘circulation figures’ here – these can be tailored to suit, it should be ‘readership figures’ that really are of importance here and no-one can answer that estimation.
As to the ‘specialist’ magazines themselves, they are edited by university graduates with business study diplomas and their only instructions from their employer is to make PROFIT. It is completely unimportant as to the subject matter of any magazine to the editors whose ‘knowledge’ and ‘interest’ on the subject is unnecessary because their job is getting as much revenue into the magazine by way of advertisers. If this is not done – and quickly, the magazine will be no more and the editor may be moved to another ‘specialist’ publication or, more than likely, be down at the job centre. It is the task of these magazines to hold their advertisers as carefully as is possible in order to keep the sporadic payments reaching their bank. In truth, the big advertisers call the shots in ‘specialist’ publications.
As a result, in Koi magazines we see page after page of advertisements from any company wishing to sell their wares together with a few snippets of text from their ‘experts’ – just as long as their ‘experts’ can do this for the price of a few packets of fags, again, bottom-line profit is the goal. As to the oft-quoted statement ‘Our Readership Comes First’, we all know this is pure, unadulterated claptrap. If an advertiser comes along at the last minute before publication with money, an ‘experts’ text will vanish for a later issue to be replaced with monetary revenue from the last-minute advertiser.
In the Koi hobby, there is a graveyard of ex-specialist Koi magazines together with an adjoining graveyard of those companies who foolishly advertised in them because the real truth of the matter is that the hobby of Koi Keeping today is miniscule at best. Koi websites have also added to lack of magazine demand where the website owners can be sure that if someone clicks onto their site, they must have some kind of interest in the subject.
On the subject of my ban, I made the error of raising questions of a product that was advertised widely in the ‘Koi Magazine’ by the maker of that product. The question raised replies from readers with opposing viewpoints and so the maker of the product enlisted outside ‘lackeys’ to fight the questions on his behalf and he found one or two blind disciples (He would never use his own employees for this, in fact he has instructed them all never to make comments lest they produce a reverse effect!)
After this did not work as well as planned, the maker personally rang the editor of the magazine and instructed her – in no uncertain terms to: –
‘Get Waddy Off the Forum Immediately – Or Else!’
It appears to me and to many others that he was just a tad worried, concerned or even worse? Incidentally, this is not supposition, just the facts.
I know one thing, he’ll pay his employees to read every single word of this website and that’s a promise because I know this particular advertiser better than most!
If I had been dear Beckie, I would have done exactly the same – especially as the advertiser was paying my wages.
It’s all a question of survival where ‘free speech’ is way down the list of bare necessities.