It's been a long time since I last subscribed to paper magazines. For a while, I kept them around. The letters they sent as the expiration date of the subscription got closer and closer were more and more pleading (and the prices got lower and lower) and eventually I figured it was fine to pay for another year. However, at some point I realized that I wasn't reading them at all, and let all the subscriptions go away. The one exception, by the way, was Business 2.0, which kept sending me the magazine for years after I stopped sending them money. It's become pretty clear that I'm not the only one who's given up on paper magazine subscriptions, as the retention strategy is apparently getting nastier and nastier. Apparently, Wired Magazine has been upsetting a number of subscribers who thought they'd let their subscription go by sending them to collections agencies who hound the (former) subscribers to get their $12 -- and threaten legal action against those who don't subscribe. The details of the story show that certain promotional subscriptions from Wired Magazine included some fine print that says that, by accepting the promotion, you agree to automatic renewal. And the people who weren't paying up that automatic renewal got sent to a collections agency designed to scare them into paying. Of course, considering that most people know that magazine subscriptions require manual renewal, this seems a bit heavy-handed -- and, to their credit, when confronted with it, Wired Magazine admits it's a mistake and has promised to stop the practice. Still, from the sound of the article, this went on for a few years.
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