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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Roxanne Toser from NonSport Update - Admission of or Soliciting Pay to Play aka Payola in the Hobby?

Since I have no life I tuned into Card Corner Club Radio this evening.  CCCR has been lining up some ridiculous guests lately.  Chris Carlin from Upper Deck, Brian Gray, et al.  This evening CCCR had Roxanne Toser from NonSport Update on.  She is the Publisher. The subject of advertising, print publication survival and content came up.  Here is the link.  It is the 2/4/11 Episode.  I downloaded the episode if anyone cannot find it.  Here is the Forum discussion. The interview starts at 33:30 or so.  The stuff I am talking about starts at 37:21 and goes to 46:25.  They mention me at 46:45 Then the hosts talk about it all the way to 48:30.  They also talk about an editorial that was written by the guest about the topic but I can't find it online.

Here is what I heard:

"and it really does upset us that we have to devote so much space in our bulging price guides to companies that really don't support us at all."

"we have gone along and written articles about the various companies whether the advertise with us or not, but we're starting to do less of that because the magazine is shrinking and we don't have the room"

"they have to understand  that we have to pay the printer for the magazine and we can't do that without advertising"

The hosts were talking about the comments I was making in the chat room.  Pay to play, payola, unethical, shill.

Anyway.  This really bothers me.  I understand that print magazines must have advertising to survive.  Just like with TV.  In fact, back in the day shows had the name of the advertiser in the title, but trade magazines are close to journalism.  In fact the job of an industry magazine is to cover the industry.  For example, in football right now the big releases have been and will be: Plates and Patches, Supreme, 5 - Star, Playoff Contenders.  Say Beckett only got advertising from Topps and only covered Supreme and 5-star, is that covering the industry or just a gateway for advertising only.  Essentially, they are a Topps magazine at that point.  BTW, I am in no way saying Beckett does this but if they did would they be journalists at all? No, it would be nothing but pay to play.

Here is my own experience.  Panini Sends me boxes, so I break them and review them.  I also place a Panini logo on my site....advertising.  Do I talk about Topps or Upper Deck products?  Sure, I have been talking about 5 star.  It looks sweet, but I do have concerns.  I dislike 2011 Base wax, but I do get a factory set every year.  What have I been collecting tons of?  2008 Mayo FB, 2008 Murad Basketball and of course Masterpieces. Do I give Panini a good review on all their products?  No.  See Basketball Rookie and Stars as well as Timeless Treasures.  Do I like some of their products?  Sure. Donruss Basketball, Century Collection.

Now did Roxanne Toser come out and say that companies had to pay for advertising to get any type of coverage?  No.  Did she imply it?  To me it sounded like she did:

"and it really does upset us that we have to devote so much space in our bulging price guides to companies that really don't support us at all."

"we have gone along and written articles about the various companies whether the advertise with us or not, but we're starting to do less of that because the magazine is shrinking and we don't have the room"

As a note, I was very sad to hear that Tuff Stuff's Sports Collectors Monthly.  I would even be sad to hear that Beckett stopped publishing so I am not against print.  In fact a Baseball Issue, Football Issue, Basketball Issue, and a Hockey issue would be quite interesting.  Published quarterly or tri annually, but monthly?  Do Panini or any other manufacturers have any duty to advertise with a particular publisher?  I don't think so, but does a magazine that covers an industry have a duty to cover and discuss relevant material regardless of whether someone is paying them to discuss their product?  Certainly.  Meh enough of that.

BTW if you are into non sport stuff I do recommend this magazine.


Listen, you are either objective or not.  You can be bought or not.  What say you?

3 comments:

John Bateman said...

you seem to be fair but people can be bought

Fuji said...

I enjoy reading NonSport Update... not a subscriber, but I'll pick one up from time to time.

I haven't listened to the podcast yet... but if she's saying and meaning everything you've posted... it's disappointing.

As a consumer I EXPECT that the price guides I'm purchasing are being fair to all companies... not just the advertising ones.

She should reconsider her strategy... if she post a magazine that focuses on as many cards sets/card companies... more people are likely to buy the magazine.

Looks I need to hurry up and listen to the podcast.

dogfacedgremlin said...

I think by now everyone in the hobby knows that Beckett has done nothing to try and hide the fact that they do shady things sometimes. Why should this be any different. In a shrinking market there are winners and losers. The losers fade away and the winners absorb whatever market share left behind by the others. Beckett (as far as print goes) is in survival mode and it will be interesting to see if there is even a hard copy price guide a year or two from now.