All posts tagged magazine

So… That was it. 365 days of underwater photography.

I have enough material to continue for another year, but I’ll take a break now. I will leave you with a photo that I haven’t posted before on the blog, but you might have seen it come by.
I’m proud to say that this one made it to be Editor’s Pick (and photo of the day) on Smithsonian magazine’s website and it’s still a featured image on the contest page.
I entered it in the 13th Annual Smithsonian photography competition. Let’s see how it’ll do.
Feel free in the mean time to like it, if you deem it worthy of your vote. They urge people these days to promote their images to be liked for a crowd vote. I’m not so much for “begging for votes”, but if you want, click the link and have at it 😉

Thanks for following me the past year, and check back here in a while.
Maybe I’ll do another year …

Yamasu's trinchesia on a soft coral branch

D800 in Ikelite housing, Tamron 90mm macro, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/22, 2 Ikelite strobes

I’ve written about The Photo Paper before. And the last time I did I thought to myself that maybe I was nagging a bit. But I’m starting to wonder about that now. Was it really nagging, or was I making a point?

Photo Paper

image courtesy of The Photo Paper

See… After… what…? almost two years or  something they finally said to have published the first issues. I guess they actually have physical editions, too, but in any case I downloaded the first issue as a digital version for free (after the first issue you’ll have to pull out your wallet).
This magazine is supposed to have collected all winners and nominees from the Black and White Spider Awards and the Color Awards. They “say” a lot on the Photo Paper website. They mention a lot of names, jurors among others, half of which may not even be truely consciously related to this. And funnily my name used to be on the website, mentioned as one of the photographers published in the magazine, but only until I made a fuss about my subscription being paid for and not delivered.. I’ve been a nominee with one or more images in Spider Awards for the past 4 years and Color Awards for the past 3 years straight, but my name nor my pictures are in this first issue.
Is that because I told them I wanted my money back when they didn’t deliver the magazine after me nagging for a year?
Or is it really so that they are a vanity press and publish your name and picture only when you pay for the subscription? Was that why it took them about a year and a half to publish the first issue? Because they didn’t have enough photographers to pay for being published in the first issue(s)?

Truth be told, there are a good number of really awesome pictures in that digital issue that I paged through, but what’s really the underlying thought for these people to publish this magazine? Would The Spider Awards and Color Awards really want to be related to this magazine still if they were really nothing more than a vanity press?
Anyone out there who’s featured in this magazine and has NOT paid for a subscription? (employees, family members of employees and acquaintances of family members of employees are not allowed to answer this question 😉 ).

Some time ago I had -another one of those- issues with a magazine that I had ordered but never got…
Maybe you remember

Photo Paper

image courtesy of The Photo Paper

Seriously… I would still be interested in getting the magazine, and that’s why (for some reason, yeah, I know…) I keep on visiting back to that website. But I keep on getting -more and more- this icky feeling that there’s something dodgy going on with this whole thing.
I checked it out again today, to see what was going on, and now the first issue is supposed to be published in August 2011.
That’s over a year later than the initial publication date of the first issue. Now is that weird or not?
I doubt if they’ll even make it to publishing the thing in August 2011.
Heck… I doubt if they’ll even publish the thing AT ALL!! And I wonder if I’m the only one who was impatient enough to claim a refund, which, by the way, I actually did get. So no complaints from me there 😉

It must be some overseas kind of marketing strategy.
Remember I wrote about Natmag Rodale awhile back? I’ve been a subscriber to US Outdoor Photographer now for two years. I got the subscription from an offer two years ago when it was discounted with about 60% and I paid something like $35.00 for two years. It was a good trial period, and it was nice and cheap compared to the £70,00 I pay for the UK Practical Photography (which I find an excellent magazine and well worth the price). But I guess also in these matters you get what you pay for. The first couple of issues were ok, but it got boring very fast. There’s very little variation in the topics and save for the occasional exception to the rule most of the pictures all look the same (and I kind of not like it that to participate in anything they organize you need to be a citizen of one of the 52 US states or…)

And thus I decided not to renew my subscription. I must honestly say that I expected a lot more persistence (especially because every single issue has about 4-5 “Get your subscription NOW!” cards tucked in. What a waste of paper!!), but I got only two reminders. To which I of course didn’t reply. I get it that the sales people try to keep their subscribers subscribed, but if you don’t get a reply to the first reminder, please, LET IT BE!
And if you really are so desperate to remind people, do also think of the international subscribers.
Today, August 30th, I received the (with big yellow letters on a firey red envelope) FINAL NOTICE and they wanted me to respond by August 14th.
So, suppose I missed the first reminder, and for some idiot reason I also missed the second reminder… If you send a third reminder and send it in such a way that it’s delivered two weeks after the last respond date, you seriously need to check up on your marketing strategy…

NatMag Rodale Limited being the publisher of Men’s Health. And being annoyed can’t be good for one’s health, now, can it?

Gonna do without pictures this post, but I’ll picture you a scene…
(I, too, need to vent from time to time).

It started in June last year.
I decided to get a gift subscription for my sister’s birthday for a magazine called Country&Living. I went online, signed up and ordered the subscription.
When I got my credit card invoice, I noticed that they had charged my credit card twice for the subscription. Twice £54.
So… I contacted them, told the girl I got on the phone what happened and she told me they’d reimburse it to my credit card. That was easy, right?
When I got next month’s credit card invoice there wasn’t a reimbursement from the subscription I ordered. So I contacted them again. I told the girl on the phone what was going on and that I was supposed to get that money back and she said she’d look into it and call me back. I gave her my number and guess what…? She never called me back.

So I contacted them again. This time I asked straight for a supervisor, because all this was taking way too long. So the supervisor I got on the phone was really helpful and told me that they’d take care of it and reimburse the money to my credit card straight away. So everything was right in the end, right?

When I got next month’s credit card invoice there wasn’t a reimbursement from the subscription I ordered. So I contacted them again. And asked for the supervisor again.
And told them that this apparently wasn’t working, and that I’ve been waiting for my reimbursement now for over two months and that my patience was running out. Then, surprise surprise, this supervisor told me that unfortunately they didn’t reimburse to foreign credit card holders (foreign being non-UK, this magazine / publisher was a UK version). I asked him why his customer service staff and his colleague supervisor whom I’ve been speaking to in the past two months didn’t know this, to which he didn’t really have an answer.
He said that the only thing he could do was write me a check that I could then cash back home.
So… I figured that would be ok, even if Finland stopped using checks already way back in the previous century. But that made everything finally alright, right?
Wrong! Goddangit! WRONG!

They sent me an obscure personal check, worth £54 and there was not a single bank in Helsinki that would cash it for me without me having to pay at least € 90 administrative and coverage costs, because they had no clue whether or not the check was covered. So I would end up having to pay more for cashing the check than that it was actually worth.

So I contacted them again. Asked them why they couldn’t send me a bank check instead of a personal one, like every normal company that’s still working in the stone age, and does accept credit card payments, but refuses to reimburse to credit cards (can you sense I got a bit impatient?). I did apologize to the girl on the phone, and told her that I realized that she couldn’t help it, but this thing had been haunting me for four months now and no one seemed to be willing to co-operate (and she accepted my apology and understood, luckily). So her supervisor wasn’t in this week and she would leave a message and have him call me back if I would give her my number, which I did.
And guess what, surprise surprise, he never called me back. I was smart enough to get his name this time, so when I contacted them – again! – I told them to put him straight on the phone.
The guy was an arrogant bastard, excuse me my french, and he wasn’t at all helpful. I explained the situation to him (I don’t think I sounded impatient at that point), but he just told me sorry, company policy, I can’t help you. He didn’t even TRY to come up with a satisfying solution. I told him that the personal check didn’t work and why it didn’t work, and he just bluntly told me that it was not his problem, but mine.
I told him that he couldn’t expect me to pay more for cashing a check than the value of the check and he said again that he couldn’t help me. I asked him to send just plain GB £ cash in an envelope and he said he couldn’t do that. Company policy. Then I did get impatient and I told him that he was seriously refusing to try to solve a problem that was created by them in the first place. That I had been patient with them for close to five months now and that my phone costs were probably already as high as what they owe me.
You know what the a** did? He said “Sorry we can’t help you” and hung up.
The stupid a** hung up on me! (Dang, I get fuming still when I think back of it!).

So I blew off steam for a couple of days and called back again.
I pretended it was the second time I called (didn’t ask for a supervisor) and got a really nice guy on the phone who actually listened to what I had to say. In the end I did tell him what had gone on all the time already (except for last the conversation with the supervisor) and he, too, told me that they weren’t authorized to refund to foreign credit cards. But he ended up trying to find a solution with me, instead of just keeping on telling me that company policy didn’t allow this and that.
So then he offered me a subscription to one of their other publications (why hadn’t I thought of that myself??). It ended up being Men’s Health (not because it’s a great magazine, but because it was the best of all bad choices). I only got 9 issues, because that was what I got for £ 54, but hey… This issue seemed to be solved. So if only I could return the check that they sent me, if I still had it.
I did, as a matter of fact. I thanked the guy for his help and complimented him on his great service and I sent the check back accompanied by a letter to the supervisor in which I wrote that they all could learn something from the guy who helped me, including himself, and that this guy should get the supervisor job, because at least he had some tact in helping people (yeah, I know, I was a bit irritated 😉 ).

Anyway… We’re 9 issues further now.
My “subscription” ended. And since it was basically shoved down my throat (lacking any other option of getting my money back) I had no intention of renewing my subscription.
So the first reminder came.
“Dear Men’s Health subscriber, yadeeyadeeyadee, so you can renew here, £ 70 for 11 issues.” I figured if I didn’t react to it, my subscription would end.
Then the second reminder came.
“Your subscription to Men’s Health is coming to an end and you haven’t replied to our previous reminder. Yadeeyadeeyadee”. I still didn’t react.
So the third and fourth reminder came.
“Despite our earlier letters we haven’t received your instructions to renew. It is very unusual for a regular reader like yourself to let your subscription lapse.”
Regular Reader? Regular Reader my a**!!
So I wrote a mail to the subscription department, saying

“Dear Sir, Madam,
Even though it’s very unusual for a regular reader like myself to let my subscription lapse, I did. And intentionally so.
So please stop sending me any reminders for renewing my subscription.
Note in your administration that subscription number 0000636XXX is and will remain unrenewed.
Thank you.”

And even then, reminder number 5 came.
“Your subscription to Men’s Health has been suspended. Yadeeyadeeya.
To show our good faith, I have asked that a copy of the next issue is reserved for you, so renew the subscription and you won’t miss an issue”.

Well, Rodale… Let me tell you where you can shove that next issue!
Subscription number 0000636XXX is and will remain unrenewed and we will never do business again!