Could Sale Of Business Week Magazine Fetch Only $1?

It sounds impossible, but could the buyer of a flagship business publication with a circulation of more than 900,000 pay only $1?

Business Week magazine could net McGraw-Hill only eight bits, according to The Financial Times.

Business publishing is in steep decline, and print publishing in general is suffering. Prominent titles are paring back or ceasing to exist as print ventures. They have the value of their brands and loyal, core audiences, but are expensive to produce. Many publications have cut staff amid both revenue and circulation declines, and yet the public’s need for news it can use has not gone away.

What has gone away is the advertising dollar. Print publications, in particular, have lost their appeal as the conduits through which advertisers reach their audience. The advertisers themselves have their own websites and brand identities — and, in some cases, their own financial problems.

Advertisers are riding out the same recession that has affected the global community of readers and viewers. You aren’t spending as much money with them, and they aren’t communicating with you as often, perhaps particularly through traditional channels.

Magazine and newspaper readers (consumers) no longer have to wait for the morning paper or the weekly or monthly print review of what essentially is old news to find out about what’s on sale or what company has the best deal or most appealing product or presentation. A reader (consumer) can go straight to the websites of Staples or Best Buy or the stock report or specialty retailer whenever the spirit moves him.

Print’s battle to survive largely is a battle for relevance. The audience still loves the stories and the insights only professional publishers can deliver, but would rather get its news online. There simply is no need to wait for the morning paper or the weekly newsmagazine. It’s far easier to visit a website that offers news you can use and includes a link to information from advertisers you can use.

Business publishing got hit earlier and harder than others forms of print media. The print recession basically is in its fourth year. The decline affecting the general economy is a relative baby at about two years old. What happened in print in 2005 — especially business print — was an indicator of what would happen later in the general economy.

Unemployment in the United States has more than doubled in 16 months. The bleeding in print started long before that.

We wrote about this in January, with our reports about the pending death of the print version of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, one of America’s great newspapers.

So, today, we’ll again pose the question we posed months ago: Why haven’t the print publishers with famous brands, massive audiences and sparkling editorial content turned to the autosurf business model to save themselves?

Why haven’t the print brands that have equally famous website brands and millions of daily visitors turned to the surf model and started paying employees in “ad packs,” while passing off the cost off surfing redemptions to people who are told they can surf their way to riches?

It’s because the surf model is the province of hacks and pretenders and even criminals, some of whom will try to persuade you otherwise because the real product they are selling is not advertising; it is a Ponzi scheme. Most of them don’t even bother to create any type of editorial content. They know people will pay to play, with the insiders gorging themselves on illegal profits while sustaining the whole thing with a core deception, 80/20 programs, money-laundering and wire-fraud partners and a disclaimer that “rebates aren’t guaranteed.”

Here is how one AdSurfDaily promoter relying on corporate GIGO put it in February 2008:

“They have a former SEC attorney on staff as General Counsel. They are not a traditional Autosurf, they are an Advertising Company. They just added over 90 advertisers to increase revenue back to it’s members. Some of the advertisers include: Nike, Omaha Steaks, Petco, Starbucks, Delta airlines — just to name a few.”

Federal prosecutors seized tens of millions of dollars six months later.

“Ponzi scheme,” they said.

Business Week might end up selling itself for $1, but its soul will be intact upon the completed sale. It survived the Great Depression and economic downturns, and it figured out new ways to compete with the changing times and changing habits.

May it do so again.

About the Author

18 Responses to “Could Sale Of Business Week Magazine Fetch Only $1?”

  1. The article that you quote, about the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, was a memorable one and should be compulsory reading for anyone who ever thought about joining an autosurf. It was a real “light bulb” moment for myself, with its explanation of WHY legitimate businesses do not turn t autosurfs for their advertising needs. For which I thank you.

    And nothing has changed. No reputable business will knowingly involve itself with the murky world of internet autosurfs which are based on an illegal business model – the ponzi.

    The ASD claims were, to put it bluntly, outright lies. None of the household name brands ever advertised with them – but it sounded good on hyped promotions. in addition to their illegality, the real traffic and conversion results from autosurfs for real businesses selling goods and services are notoriously low. People are only surfing for money – the content of the ads is irrelvant.

    The online advertising that does work best is invariably found on sites full of content and where the adverts are of interest to those particular readers. Google adwords have been doing it for years!

    Any site that pays people to advertise and, in addition, pays them more than they have paid to advertise has to have substantial outside revenue, in order to avoid being a ponzi. BUT, and it is a big but, if someone is capable of raising substantial profits legally from businesses other than their autosurf, what would be their motivation to “give it back” to members?
    If the “outside revenue” business is that profitable, they will be better off concentrating on that and forgetting all about using the money to finance an illegal autosurf.

    Illegal with outside revenue? Yes, unless they can demonstrate the instrinsic value of the advertising and avoid the second illegality of selling unregistered securities.

    And if anyone doubts this – think about it. Andy Bowdoin & Co would have had to find over 300$ million within a short period of time in order to meet ASD’s liabilities to the new and existing members. If they could raise that kind of cash legally, what on earth would they want to run an autosurf for?

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  2. Patrick,

    “Joe,” the AVGA supporter, made a comment at the end of an article you wrote a couple of days ago, and in his comment he referred to your site as a “blog.” I don’t see it as a blog at all; it’s well researched and documented (with citations, when necessary), and counts as news in my book (and I’m incredibly picky). So long as on-line news sites like yours take the place of print media, I don’t think the print media will be missed. The Atlantic Monthly magazine costs about $5.00 at the newsstand and $1.49 to download on my Kindle 2.

    I read The Consumerist every day, and it started out as a “blog” of sorts, but was purchased by Consume’s Union, publishers of Consumer Reports, a couple of months ago. I think Consumers Union sees the handwriting on the wall…..

    But there are crazy people writing blogs, and people will believe what they read in them at their own risk!

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  3. Hi Marci,

    The WordPress theme I use was designed for news sites. I use it as a News Blog that features reporting, commentary and analysis. The front-page news hole has 11 spots to fill. An online daily could use it, if it had the staff to fill the news hole. It can be tweaked to include fewer spots.

    I can’t fill the news hole in a single day, but I keep it at 11 spots because new readers arrive each day, and providing more front-page content means they don’t have to go looking for stories to read. Normally I do a story a day, sometimes two. I’ve done as many as four, but that can be a recipe for a 20-hour day.

    In general, it takes about a week to 10 days for a story in the slot at the top of the page to rotate off the page.

    I do believe print never will be the same. In a news context, it can’t provide the immediacy and costs too much. The biggest pre-Internet revolution was the switch to desktop publishing in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I remember the first time I saw a page being paginated on a computer; I couldn’t believe it. What I didn’t know at the time was that the Internet — what vaguely was known in the 1980s as “the Information Superhighway” — was going to lead to even more landscape altering changes.

    Barriers to entering the publishing business never have been lower, and increased competition has diluted readership and created an unfathomable slush pile. Emerging from the slush pile and establishing an audience is the first challenge — after teaching yourself how to run the publishing systems, of course.

    It’s easy to be a publisher these days, and news always happens, only to be replaced by even more news. It is labor-intensive, and may not result in instant financial rewards. But there is no turning back — just as there was no turning back to the horse and the blacksmith — and it is both exciting and exasperating.

    I appreciate your readership, Marci.

    Thank you.

    Patrick

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  4. Hi alasycia,

    alasycia: None of the household name brands ever advertised with them – but it sounded good on hyped promotions.

    You reminded me of this:

    http://patrickpretty.com/2009/03/15/adsurfdaily-promo-cited-ties-to-google-kodak-pepsi-nbc-and-other-prominent-advertisers/

    The idea that Big Companies will pay millions of dollars so lesser advertisers and upstarts can gain Socialistic Ponzi “profits” always has been absurd. Under this theory, the Big Advertisers wouldn’t expect rebates; they’d be happy just having their ads shown in the back room and subsidize the “profits” for everybody else.

    A Secret Service/IRS Task Force agent put his MySpace page in ASD. Other people were getting paid for rotating blank pages and other pages of nothingness. I saw a YouTube video in which the promoter tried to create the impression that Facebook was a paid ASD advertiser.

    And to hear some of the promoters tell it, Big Advertisers were practically tripping over themselves for a chance to underwrite profits for miracle MLM potions. If a rep for a miracle MLM potion had $100,000 to spend, he would make more than a rep who had $10,000 to spend.

    Spend more. Make more — and enjoy the subsidies from the benevolent Big Advertisers!

    Thank you for your kind note, alasycia.

    Regards,

    Patrick

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  5. Mark Simmons claims AVG is back on 7/7/09.

    Mark’s hostility reminds me a lot of Joe. Almost scary if that’s not him………that means there is more than one angry moronic ponzi promoter out there ;)

    http://unemployablehobo.ning.com/forum/topics/this-is-the-adviewglobal-i

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  6. Marci: “Joe,” the AVGA supporter, made a comment at the end of an article you wrote a couple of days ago, and in his comment he referred to your site as a “blog.” I don’t see it as a blog at all; it’s well researched and documented (with citations, when necessary), and counts as news in my book (and I’m incredibly picky). So long as on-line news sites like yours take the place of print media, I don’t think the print media will be missed.

    Marci: But there are crazy people writing blogs, and people will believe what they read in them at their own risk!

    Marci,

    Which is it? You seem to want it both ways. As for this blog, it seems the research has slacked off since the AVG forums are saying nothing. Speculation and quoting anonymous member/posters is not research.

    Marci, how often have you read something about which you have more knowledge than the writer? Have you ever said to yourself, “that is just not true” while reading? I do that alsmost daily here at this site and to be fair, at others too. Should we read and believe what is posted here, at our own risk, or has admin risen above the sea of misstatements, inaccuracies and bias untruths on Internet blogs? You seem to be saying he has and also that he cannot.

    Your statement seems to say to all of us..beware…”But there are crazy people writing blogs, and people will believe what they read in them at their own risk”. I’ll add that the “crazy people” here are doing the commenting and “crazy” DOES NOT DISCRIBE THE WRITER, MR PRETTY the writer of this blog. I’m not sure what to make of him.

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  7. Correction,

    I agree with you. As a reader one must take the entire body of information available into account when assessing the veracity of, for example, a given article. Eventually the full truth comes out (or not), but until then, one has to weigh the preponderance of evidence, knowing that the validity of the evidence may range from 100% accurate to 100% false.

    Correction: Marci,Which is it? You seem to want it both ways. As for this blog, it seems the research has slacked off since the AVG forums are saying nothing. Speculation and quoting anonymous member/posters is not research. Marci, how often have you read something about which you have more knowledge than the writer? Have you ever said to yourself, “that is just not true” while reading? I do that alsmost daily here at this site and to be fair, at others too. Should we read and believe what is posted here, at our own risk, or has admin risen above the sea of misstatements, inaccuracies and bias untruths on Internet blogs? You seem to be saying he has and also that he cannot. Your statement seems to say to all of us..beware…”But there are crazy people writing blogs, and people will believe what they read in them at their own risk”. I’ll add that the “crazy people” here are doing the commenting and “crazy” DOES NOT DISCRIBE THE WRITER, MR PRETTY the writer of this blog. I’m not sure what to make of him.

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  8. With the increasing ease of publishing online, the possibility of verifying information becomes a critical issue.

    If you take, for example, this blog, you will find that Patrick has sources to back up and verify all his statements. Where they are merely opinions, he states the fact.

    Most of us try to verify what we are writing before writing it – the discussion about Copyright Infringement being a case in point. It is important to find out what legislation governs the AVGA operation, before making wild statements about actions for copyright infringement. A bald statement that member’s actions break the law, is not worth the paper it is written on, if there is no enforceable law to implement.

    The same goes for all promotional statements that are not backed up with solid facts – and these are questions that have been unanswered for many months on AVGA. What is the basis that promoters state that it is legal? What is the basis that promters state that it is sustainable? If statements can be verified, then the credibility of the person publishing the news gives credence to that news. If it cant, then it falls into the second category that Marci mentions

    But there are crazy people writing blogs, and people will believe what they read in them at their own risk!

    The one advantage of the printed news is that it cannot be altered after the fact. The ability to edit information after the fact is one of hte downsides of the transfer of news from print to screen. (which is why it is such a abused source of information)

    I for one, still read newspapers – as well as checking out news on the internet. The internet serves for its immediacy, but reading it in cold print afterwards is much more reassuring.

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  9. Correction,

    Verification of what is “blogged” isn’t possible on the AVGA site, nor the old Smurf’s Up website, simply because when one asks for some sort of verification of statements, their posts are removed as being “negative” or a “naysayer” (Not once have I ever said Nay!!)

    So who want’s it noth ways now? The last statement made in the “Breaking Snooze” made no freaking sense. It had nothing to do with George and Judy’s plan to fix things after they screwed them up, nothing to say about when payouts would resume (if ever), and nothing to prove they have anything else going on except for them being swaggering breath wasters. That sums up AVG in a nutshell…. a waste of breath. Not sure of the swaggering part. Stumbling and bumbling, perhaps.

    I never trusted companies that put the cart before the horse, or in their case, goods and services before blatant lies..

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  10. noth = both

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  11. CORRECTION,

    Correction: it seems the research has slacked off

    Actually, it has not. I have to spend more time reading these days because of the volume of email I receive.

    Correction: since the AVG forums are saying nothing

    You mean the AVG forum run by some of the Mods and members of the Pro-ASD (and ASD-endorsed) Surf’s Up forum, which went offline when AVG stopped paying members, made an 80/20 program mandatory if/when payouts resume and exercised its version of the “rebates aren’t guaranteed” clause?

    And you mean the AVG forum itself, which went offline, online, and offline again when AVG stopped paying members, made an 80/20 program mandatory if/when payouts resume and exercised its version of the “rebates aren’t guaranteed” clause?

    Correction: the sea of misstatements, inaccuracies and bias untruths on Internet blogs?

    You mean like instructing members on AVG forums and in written communications not to call purchases an “investment” or “investments?” One could get the idea by reading information such as that that AVG was trying to insulate itself from scrutiny by the regulatory agencies and prosecution by law-enforcement agencies.

    I’m wondering, CORRECTION, if you noticed that the RICO plaintiffs’ attorneys mentioned bids to sanitize the business model by wordplay. It seems government lawyers and private lawyers both have a theory that one surf could use “ad packs,” for example, and another could use, say, “page impressions” or “viewer impressions.”

    And I’m wondering if you noticed that the public and private lawyers have described 80/20 programs, transactions with SolidTrustPay and the forfeiture complaint against the home and 2008 Honda of George and Judy Harris?

    And did you notice that Andy Bowdoin hasn’t responded to the RICO complaint and that no attorney has filed a notice of appearance for him — and that Andy starred in a video earlier this year for “PaperlessAccess,” telling the troops it would be a good way to recoup money the government seized in the ASD case?

    PaperlessAccess even had an acronym for the seized money: LAL, which stands for “Legal Advertising Losses.”

    It struck me almost like parody. LAL? In any event, the video went missing after a short time, and Surf’s Up banned discussion about it in the main forum. The same Surf’s Up also recently deleted some AVG information and seems to have given Andy a demotion. The various odes to his legal exploits at the top of the page have been removed.

    No more “Three Cheers For Andy!” stuff — at least not at the top of the page at Surf’s Up.

    Correction: “crazy”

    You mean like threatening members with copyright-infringement lawsuits and to contact their ISPs to have service suspended when the company is 100 percent in control of members’ money and members ask pointed questions — and to say members are responsible for the confusion after previously blaming them for a bank-account suspension — when the company’s name has been mentioned in a racketeering lawsuit and a closely associated firm has been named in TWO federal forfeiture complaints and is the subject of an active criminal investigation?

    What would happen, say, if a group of AVG members who were being denied their money, denied the names of the “Management Team” and told they weren’t allowed to talk about it decided that the copyright/ISP stuff was a strong-arm attempt and decided to sue under RICO statutes?

    And I’m wondering if you noticed the Feds cited a racketeering statute in Paragraph 8 the August forfeiture complaint and Paragraph 14 of the December complaint.

    Patrick

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  12. Correction:

    Marci: “Joe,” the AVGA supporter, made a comment at the end of an article you wrote a couple of days ago, and in his comment he referred to your site as a “blog.” I don’t see it as a blog at all; it’s well researched and documented (with citations, when necessary), and counts as news in my book (and I’m incredibly picky). So long as on-line news sites like yours take the place of print media, I don’t think the print media will be missed.

    Marci: But there are crazy people writing blogs, and people will believe what they read in them at their own risk!

    Marci,Which is it?You seem to want it both ways.As for this blog, it seems the research has slacked off since the AVG forums are saying nothing.Speculation and quoting anonymous member/posters is not research.
    Marci, how often have you read something about which you have more knowledge than the writer?Have you ever said to yourself, “that is just not true” while reading?I do that alsmost daily here at this site and to be fair,at others too.Should we read and believe what is posted here, at our own risk, or has admin risen above the sea of misstatements, inaccuracies and bias untruths on Internet blogs?You seem to be saying he has and also that he cannot.
    Your statement seems to say to all of us..beware…”But there are crazy people writing blogs, and people will believe what they read in them at their own risk”.I’ll add that the “crazy people” here are doing the commenting and “crazy” DOES NOT DISCRIBE THE WRITER, MR PRETTY the writer of this blog.I’m not sure what to make of him.

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  13. Correction,

    You may have to stretch your mind a bit to understand this, but I wasn’t trying to have it both ways, it’s simply that the two ideas aren’t mutually exclusive. What one reads on- line may be well researched and cited, with cites that can be independently verified by the reader. Or what one reads on-line can be unsupported and appear to consist of nothing more than opinions. Personally, a zillion exclamation points is a big tip off to me that I’m reading opinion and not reportage. You may have your own standards. The Internet is the medium not the message, but it’s a medium that’s far more accessible than any medium in history, equally accessible it seems to thoughtful authors and kooks alike.

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs” is a good rule of thumb when one reads any article whose editorial oversight is unknown. I may think the New York Times is edited by anthropoidal raging liberals who hate America, but I do know it’s edited and they have some editorial standards of proof that are followed before going to press, even if I think they’re woefully inadequate or else someone is asleep at the switch.

    When I started reading Patrick’s articles, I had no idea who he was and I still don’t know an awful lot more than I did in the beginning. But I do know that he provides citations and, as Jenny says, when he is expressing an opinion, it’s clear to the reader (or at least to me). And he doesn’t express many opinions. You may think of them as opinions, because while you can refute Patrick;s opinion with your own opinion, if you ever acknowledge an unpleasant fact, you will have to find facts that prove him wrong. And the ASD and AVGA world is woefully, woefully lacking in facts of any kind, but especially facts that can be put forth with a positive spin and a straight face.

    Before Princess Diana had been dead an hour the “fact” that she was murdered by the Royal Family because she was pregnant with Dodi Fayed’s baby had gone around the world twice, via the Internet. All the authors reporting this “news” absolutely knew it was true, but for national security reasons could not reveal to their readers how they knew. But they REALLY knew and anyone who didn’t believe them was obviously ignorant about the collective powers of the MI5, MI6, CIA, FBI, KGB, and the Mossad. “Everyone knows” the Mossad was involved because a Muslim baby was going to be a half-sibling of the heir to the throne of Great Brittan.

    Was that news? It’s got as much backing as the “facts” that prove that ASD was legal and sustainable and what’s more, so is AVGA. When it comes to AVGA, it’s got about the same level of transparency, too. Except AVGA can’t tell you who you’re sending $25,000 to because, despite the fact they’re perfectly legal, the feds might come close them down. Or because the people who can’ t get their money back might organize and march on their headquarters, with mayhem in mind. But you can trust them because they told you that you could, and then 19,000 other people pooled their ignorance, and now there are 19,000 individual pockets of “proof” that AVGA is legal and profitable and your money is safe.

    Which brings us full circle, back to Patrick, which was where we started If ASD and AVGA were legal and there were millions and millions of dollars to be made from selling — excuse me BUYING — advertising, as Patrick observed long ago, isn’t it odd that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer went out of business rather than simply buying ads?

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  14. Patrick, Will you correct my spelling of throne as thrown, last sentence of paragraph 4? Typos are so distracting to some of your readers that they never get around to discussing any other topic. Thanks!

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  15. Hi Marci,

    Marci: Will you correct my spelling of throne as thrown, last sentence of paragraph 4? Typos are so distracting to some of your readers that they never get around to discussing any other topic.

    Done. :-)

    Patrick

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  16. It does appear that advertising on the internet is changing as well as in print media. However it is not going the way of the autosurf. Northwest Airlines gives away sky miles for watching their advertisers ads that are emailed to members, E-Rewards actually pays it’s members to take surveys from various research companies but the money can only be used to purchase certain things, (magazines, gift cards, Bockbuster movies etc) and I noticed Pubishers Clearing House has a search engine that offers random drawings and entries into their sweepstakes for everyone who registers and uses their search engine.

    I think these are signs of the social networking direction advertising is taking. Will it ever become an autosurf model? Not as long as autosurfs are the tool of scammers, and not in it’s present form.

    Last year Bill Gates said the internet of the next ten years would look nothing like the internet of the last 10 years. I believe the print media and the main stream news media are going to have to change with it.

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  17. Michelle’s mention of Northwest Airlines just reminded me of something.

    Does anyone remember the “Millionaires Club” at ASD, masterminded by David Meade and friends? For a monthly payment, from medium to exorbitant, a member could join this Club and benefit from leads from advertisement in various Airline Magazines. It lasted a month or so, if I recall. If it was true that ASD invested in print advertising “once”, I wonder why that stopped.

    Did Airlines wise up to the advertising content and refuse to continue the advert? Was ASD unwilling to pay real money for an advert? Does anyone know the story behind that little failed venture?

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  18. alasycia:

    There are plenty of people who know, they just aren’t talking. To do so would mean it would prove ASD was not the great advertising business model they claimed, but a Ponzi.

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