What strange ploy are magazines up to?

By Steve Outing

I have a new, complimentary subscription to Field & Stream magazine (print edition). Why is that? Since I don’t fish or hunt, or have any interest whatsoever in reading about either, publisher Bonnier is wasting money by granting me an unasked-for 1-year subscription.

I’m thinking this started with my paid subscriptions to a couple printed cycling and mountain biking magazines, which apparently generated an unasked-for complimentary subscription to Outside magazine. I was fine with that, since I enjoy Outside, though I won’t pay to renew when my 1-year free trial ends (assuming it does). So my guess is that as an Outside “subscriber,” it was assumed I must also be into fishing and hunting.

This must signal signs of desperation among magazine publishers. But receiving my “free gift” annoyed me, thinking about the wasted paper and downed trees represented by a print product I don’t want. At least when I get an unasked-for online subscription (which happens occasionally), I can easily unsubscribe with a click or two and no birds lose their homes.

Now I’m curious what magazine will turn up in my mailbox unannounced next. If mountain biking leads to assumption that I like the outdoors, and that leads to another assumption that I must enjoy fishing and hunting, then what’s coming next? Perhaps Soldier of Fortune?

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!