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littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 08:37 am
a sneaky perk

I'm part of a pretty small subgroup of lawyers. Not a lot work in intellectual property, and even fewer practice patent law. For example, of the approximately 1.2 million in the US, there are currently only about 28,000 that are registered to to do patent work -- less than 2-1/2%.

Because all of us are publicly listed, we get on the mailing lists of just about every IP-focused publication out there. I receive maybe about ten monthly publications every month, all of them unsolicited. (I'm sure this is the case in many professions.)

The weird thing is when they send me an invoice to renew my subscription. I'm looking at one right now (from "IP Law & Business") urging me to renew at a special annual rate of $199.

It's a decent publication, but there's not a lot of focus on legal developments in it. Interviews with CEOs and high-profile IP entrepreneurs. Glossy cover. Not too technical. Half of it's advertising. And the average issue is maybe 60 pages, max. I might consider paying $20 for a subscription, but not a couple hundred.

Thing is, this is maybe the 3rd invoice for this publication that I've received over the past 2 years. If I ignore it, like I have the previous ones, I'll keep receiving issues for free, likely indefinitely.

The reason is that the revenue streams from these publications likely rely more on advertising than subscriptions, and to sell their advertising space, they make claims that their circulation includes, among other groups, every patent attorney in the U.S. This means comped subscriptions for us.

Which is all well and good. The thing that chaps me, however, is the sneaky way it's done. If you want to comp me in order to legitimize your circulation stats so you can more effectively run ads, that's cool, and thanks. But don't try to rip me off.

8CommentReplyShare

circumambulate
circumambulate
Circumambulate
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)

Yeah, that's pretty silly, especially when your target market is explicitly trained to spot loopholes.


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sanguinity
sanguinity
Sanguinity
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)

It was that way with the professional safety rags, too -- try to invoice you for what they were planning on sending you anyway. With the exception of Professional Safety, which was published by the Society of Safety Engineers, and which wasn't an ad-supported magazine.

The difference between Professional Safety and the other safety rags, btw, was about the difference between Ms. and Cosmo. Professional Safety would occasionally run articles about the folly of having a product-centered hearing protection program, while the advertiser-supported rags, as regular as clockwork, would have a FEATURE ARTICLE in every third issue about the HAWT NEW HEARING PROTECTION ON THE MARKET RIGHT NOW! (Guess which magazine I actually read when it turned up on my desk?)


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nate_turpentine
nate_turpentine
Terry Sawchuk is my motherfucker, yo!
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)

so....you're complaining about free magazines now?

just checking....have at it dude.


bring the office to trivia at my bar tonight, it'll be fun


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littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)

I'm complaining about underhanded business practices.


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nate_turpentine
nate_turpentine
Terry Sawchuk is my motherfucker, yo!
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)

Sorry dude, I know you're a stand up guy. Just breakin baws.


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cheekyassmonkey
cheekyassmonkey
tori
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)

then what about "oregon business" magazine. free, if you get a handy subscription invititation, but if you covet somebody else's and try to subscribe cold - ~$200 for the year.

and actually, not a bad rag.


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littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)

"Oregon Business" sounds like it's got a much broader focus. However, I'd venture a guess that similar mechanics go into comping subscriptions to targeted groups of professionals, in order to boost ad sale revenue.


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danger0usbeans
danger0usbeans
Dangerous Beans
Thursday, February 26th, 2009 04:55 am (UTC)

Yeah, I saw a ton of that when I worked for OTLA. They're hoping some random bookkeeping lackey will see the invoice come through and just pay it without realizing that you've been getting it for free. Sadly enough, it works a good portion of the time.


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