Author Topic: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader  (Read 4754 times)

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Puddington

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RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« on: March 01, 2010, 08:24:08 PM »
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I received a subscription to MR for Christmas; nice thought from a family member; I usually buy a newsstand copy anyway so why not...?

I'll tell you why not.....and in the process illustrate the "joined at the hip" Milwaukee connection between a supposedly unbiased magazine and an advertiser......

I received a "Walthers Flyer" today; home addressed, exactly the same as the MR's come. I didn't order this; haven't ordered from Walthers and didn't give permission to MR to give out my name.... so; two possibilities; 1/ They sell their mailing list......2/ They "give" their mailing list to a prime advertising client...........

Ok; so; which is it ?...............

I have sent MR a letter expressing my disappointment and demanding I be taken off their mailing list sales/lending efforts.

Many of us have long scoffed at their product reviews as being biased to their big ad clients; me thinks that that is a valid point of view given that they have now shown a connection to these clients that is more than a "supplier-magazine" relationship.

So; what's next, the "new for spring from Woodland Scenic's catalog"?

IMHO Model Railroader has broken an ethics line for this "subscriber".
Model railroading isn't saving my life, but it's providing me moments of joy not normally associated with my current situation..... Train are good!

MichaelWinicki

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Re: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2010, 08:38:55 PM »
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So MR makes their mailing list available for rent.

That's common practice for most publications– And has been for at least a couple generations.  That's how they defray part of their overhead, i.e. list rental.

While I can understand your displeasure, many folks are pleased when they get something in the mail that relates to their hobby. 

If you're looking at it from an invasion of privacy kind of thing... Well unfortunately that genie was let out of the bottle a long time ago.  If I wanted to rent a list of one-legged dwarfs in Salt Lake City, who have 2 kids, 1 dog and drive a Chevy Impala with primer on the right front fender, I could get that list.  It may not be a big list but I could get it.

Puddington

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Re: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2010, 08:45:43 PM »
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So MR makes their mailing list available for rent.

That's common practice for most publications– And has been for at least a couple generations.  That's how they defray part of their overhead, i.e. list rental.


I know that is has been common but with the number of complaints that governments and publishers have gotten over such practices; and given the open and frequent commentary regarding MR's objectivity, I, for one, might not allow this connection to be perpetuated were I in the MR management structure.
Model railroading isn't saving my life, but it's providing me moments of joy not normally associated with my current situation..... Train are good!

tom mann

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Re: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2010, 08:56:53 PM »
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You'll also get MicroMark, the sample Christmas Card Pack, Historic Rail, and at least a few others.

Denver Road Doug

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Re: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2010, 09:11:50 PM »
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Well, this is a tough one.  My overall opinion is that no ethical boundaries are being violated.  It comes down to what is "reasonable", and I don't think what you've experienced is atypical.

With any publication, it is reasonable to expect that there will be advertisements contained within.  It's reasonable that if you subscribe, you are more interested than just a casual reader.  As long as your (basic) information is provided in a channeled manner and not shotgunned out to the world, and the magazine's practice follows the laws of the country you live in, then a couple of flyers from Walthers a couple of times per year are not unreasonable.

I'd say that the model railroading industry as a whole is very responsible in this manner.  Early on some of the forums got scraped by unscrupulous third parties and abused, but for the most part it could be MUCH worse.  Recently Atlas got a little click happy with their Whatever Club promotion and I threw my hat in the ring on that one but even that was very minor.

I figure that given the way MR (and even Walthers, really) supports this great hobby, I'll live with a little junk mail/e-mail if it helps pay their bills.  I did have a major issue with Walthers once when I ordered some items and had them shipped to my office since delivery to my apartment was iffy at best.  Well, they started a BARRAGE of mail (much worse than the MR associated stuff) to my work address which caused me a lot of grief.  Not good to get that kind of mail in a professional environment, all the "plays with trains" comments, etc.  I had to spend a lot of time on the phone and after 3 tries and about 6 months they finally stopped but I still won't forget it.  Thing is, that's even less "wrong" from an ethical standpoint.  So I feel your pain.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 09:13:25 PM by Denver Road Doug »
NOTE: I'm no longer active on this forum.   If you need to contact me, use the e-mail address (or visit the website link) attached to this username.  Thanks.

Puddington

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Re: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2010, 10:05:23 PM »
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Well; maybe it's the "canuck" in me, but frankly; "if I want someone's advertising crap; I'll ask for it"...... Model Railroader's got someone's subscription money for my copies; that's all they deserve. I could give a flyin fadoo about their financial situation; if they need to sell my info to stay solvent; then they won't get my money in the future and they can sell someone elses info. I know many of you think it's common - common and correct are two different issues - they are selling my info (or giving) to their advertisers, the same people who they feel they can objectively review products for.........That's conflict of interest - or in the vernacular - "that's BS".

The world will perpetuate what the masses will tolerate............. >:(
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 10:09:37 PM by Puddington »
Model railroading isn't saving my life, but it's providing me moments of joy not normally associated with my current situation..... Train are good!

Dave Schneider

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Re: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2010, 10:13:50 PM »
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Wow, the glow of basking in the glory of Olympic Hockey Gold wears off quickly....unless a hangover is involved?  ;D

Best wishes, Dave
If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

Chulvis

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Re: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2010, 10:16:49 PM »
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Websites that rent their email list are required to to have an "Opt-in" for their third party advertisers. Seems to me that magazine subscriptions should have the same. There is legislation in place to prevent e-commerce companies from selling/renting your email address, why is it not in place for magazines? Strange.  



Puddington

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Re: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2010, 10:30:43 PM »
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Wow, the glow of basking in the glory of Olympic Hockey Gold wears off quickly....unless a hangover is involved?  ;D

Best wishes, Dave

Hell no Dave; our plan is to stay drunk until at least Wednesday...........hickup...................... ;D
Model railroading isn't saving my life, but it's providing me moments of joy not normally associated with my current situation..... Train are good!

Chulvis

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Re: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2010, 10:34:07 PM »
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Wow, the glow of basking in the glory of Olympic Hockey Gold wears off quickly....unless a hangover is involved?  ;D

Best wishes, Dave

Hell no Dave; our plan is to stay drunk until at least Wednesday...........hickup...................... ;D

I'll be up there tomorrow!



Dave Schneider

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Re: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2010, 10:50:22 PM »
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Wow, the glow of basking in the glory of Olympic Hockey Gold wears off quickly....unless a hangover is involved?  ;D

Best wishes, Dave

Hell no Dave; our plan is to stay drunk until at least Wednesday...........hickup...................... ;D

Sounds like a good plan. That was some really fine hockey, and I was proud of the effort by Team USA. I was happy for Canada as well...I wasn't sure that Holland, Stevie Y and Babcock could win a championship without a bunch of Swedes on the team!

Best wishes, Dave
If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

pfs

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Re: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2010, 11:52:22 PM »
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Since the address was the same (exact as you say) MR is prob running/printing the address on to the media, hence MR is renting the list but the vendor in question never gets your info. Not that makes anyone happy if they do not wish to get the mailer in the first place.

up1950s

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Re: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2010, 11:58:16 PM »
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I sub to MR , Walthers , and many other MRR mags for decades . I don't get odd balls , so the Walthers should be it I guess .

Chulvis

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Re: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2010, 12:08:53 AM »
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I sub to MR , Walthers , and many other MRR mags for decades . I don't get odd balls , so the Walthers should be it I guess .

I think Walthers and MRR would be the prime suspects. Easily the companies with the largest database of names/addresses. I hate the idea that either of them would sell them though. When I was in the software business "list rental" was a pretty big source of revenue for the company I worked for. The problem was that the people answering the phones had to take the heat from people that figured out it was us renting their info. Seemed shady to me then and even more so in the MRR industry.



Puddington

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Re: RANT: I've been sold by Model Railroader
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2010, 12:56:24 AM »
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Maybe I've missed something; but how does a "trade" (for lack of a better term) magazine "shill" for (aka; share their subscription list for direct mail purposes) their largest advertiser; producer of numerous products that the magazine itself proports to "review" with an honest and critical eye and then still claim to be independant of said client...............? I just can't see it.

If MR needs to gain revenue; then drop the product review section; announce that everything it's clients sell is 100% and move on.................do they really think we believe their reviews anyway....I mean; I'm dumb, but not THAT dumb.....................
Model railroading isn't saving my life, but it's providing me moments of joy not normally associated with my current situation..... Train are good!