Shutterbug (and there publishing house) have clearly indicated in the past that they are not willing to do the right thing. Money trumps ethics, apparently.
Shutterbug (and there publishing house) have clearly indicated in the past that they are not willing to do the right thing. Money trumps ethics, apparently.
I think you are assuming Shutterbug is like most magazines and has an "editorial" staff of functional consequence and size as most large circulation national magazines have. It does not resemble most publications in this respect. The staff at the editorial office in Titusville, Florida is quite small and limited in function to mostly putting the editorial and advertising content together to go to the printer in another state. The editor of the magazine has his office in New York, the Publisher in Los Angeles, and the "staff" that creates the content are all independent freelance photographer/writers scattered over several countries and many states in the US.
I get all kinds of ads from numerous sources by every means possible because I have been known through being published for many years now. And I have some idea based on being pretty much in touch every day of who is reputable in the photo business, and what firms are questionable. And, these days that list is always changing and is really not very representative of all that is happening, so unless a paid staff employee could devote a lot of time to checking out advertisers, and the few paid employees have other demanding tasks to do to get a magazine out each month, doing anything to wards knowing what kind of company is behind any ad is not a possibility.
In fact those of you who are buying products have with this forum the opportunity to post your actual experiences, a better resource for others than has ever existed before. So, keep the feedback coming in and no one should have an excuse for being taken advantage of.
Lame excuse du jour. Just admit that Shutterbug is not willing to do the right thing and behave in an ethical manner.
You have a person who does page layout, right? So, they dump a standard boilerplate into a sidebar somewhere prominent in the magazine. That's all. A couple of mouse clicks and you're done.
I'm not suggesting anyone go out and do a multi-page expose' on every advertiser you have, just a "hey, check out (list of review sites) before you buy" blurb on the TOC or something.
It probably wouldn't work anyway, the people who are picking up the magazine just to find the cheapest price on a camera wouldn't read the warning just like they don't bother to come here or other on-line forums to research vendors. They are just too focused on saving $10 off the price from somewhere else.
People who are motivated by finding the "best deal" aren't the type to do that anyway, in my experience. But they are certainly the ones who whine and cry the loudest when they get taken by some shady vendor. The only purpose a warning would serve would be to have something to point to and call them an idiot.
But, you would have the moral high ground, and that counts for something among your readers.
People who are consumers as you point out have to be responsible for themselves. By assuming that responsibility wouldn't we then be subject to the criticism of playing 'big brother'? Can or should we assume any responsibility for others, and if so on what grounds and by what authority?
The problem is this: no one can assume responsibility for another, and by publishing a warning "caveat emptor" is about all you can legitimately say, you can't really suggest that this or that web site will in fact keep someone safe from less than ethical business practices because it is not failsafe, its just one resource of many which in total even are no guarantee, they just increase the purchasers odds of not getting ripped off.
As soon as you take the "high" moral ground some will believe they are "safe", and then get stung, which is inevitable as it is true a sucker is born every minute, and then what is accomplished by publishing an imperfect solution. To just falsely assume an empty posture of being on a high moral ground accomplishes nothing. Its like suggesting people should take politicians at face value!
I suppose I should be a realist rather than an idealist.
Actually today with the internet the consumer almost has the upper hand. If a dealer is a bad actor it can be caught on a video phone and get posted on YouTube in minutes, and if dramatic enough will go viral within hours.
When I first got into photography in the 50's a lot of people were stung by some sleazy dealers in New York before the word finally got around, but even before the web they eventually got their come-uppance. None of the infamous mail-order dealers of the old-days has survived. Today there really is no excuse for a sleazy trader not to get the reputation they deserve, and almost instantaneously.
Actually today's major internet businesses like Amazon.com are the most scrupulously straight-up businesses with much better customer relations than any pre-internet mail-order company of the past.
But as the market has become more reliable it seems people become increasingly complacent and dependent, expecting someone to hold there hand like a mother taking a child to the store to make sure their given the correct change. I am truly amazed that some very lame scams are still working and people are falling for them like the Nigerian internet con artists John Stossel exposed on ABC's 20-20.
Lame excuse du jour #2. Other photographic magazines have taken the high road and banned scammers from their publication, but you/Shutterbug have decided to continue to cater to them. You should be ashamed.
Why are you complaining to me, I'm just an independent freelance contributor who is voicing my opinion, and I have no influence one way or the other on the ad acceptance policy of the corporation that owns Shutterbug. The corporation is named and identified in the magazine and you are welcome to complain directly to them.
You claim what I have described is a lame excuse, but you have provided no evidence whatsoever that what I have described is not true.
However, if I did have a position of influence over policy as I did when I was an editor of a couple of national magazines, I was then personally opposed as a matter of principle that a publication should not support or engage in self-censorship for any purpose. That assumes the individual reader is incapable of making judgments on their own and protecting their own interests, and that the reader's freedom to choose should be taken away from them.
However in the 30 plus years I have been published, whether as a freelancer, an employed editorial staffer or a magazine's editor, if an individual reader has a problem with a dealer and believes he/she has not been dealt with fairly and asks for my help, I have made calls to the owner or manager of the business on behalf of the reader. That has always resulted in an equitable settlement of the dispute. But even if that occurs with a particular dealer more than once, it does not constitute a basis for saying all of that dealer's sales are unethical. That can only be established by a lawful investigation by a government agency that has jurisdiction which is then tried in a court of law. Unless a business is found to be guilty of fraudulent business practices, any publication that sanctions a business' lawful activity is potentially liable to recourse. In other words you cannot refuse to accept an ad from one company and not the one next door just because you don't approve of the way that dealer does business.
Lame excuse #3.
Lame excuse - lame question. About as much use as slamming the mud-covered grunts in the trenches for how the politicians and generals are running the war.
Make your point to someone who can actually do something - the publishing company.
Excellent point, Larry (nice simile, too.).
If you took the effort to look at the many previous posts, you would see that I have been in contact with the publishing company on exactly this issue and you would see how they failed to behave ethically.
So instead you sit here and continually parrot lame lame lame serving no good and only casting a shadow on your own contentions. In fact, the only thing you have accomplished is to make a good man, David, leave who has done nothing but try and help and educate other forum members. Certainly an achievement worthy of hanging a hat upon.
I certainly have little sympathy for consumers who know a deal is too good to be true then get bent all out of joint when surprise of all surprises it is too good. In this day and age of easily available information, it is the peak of irresponsibility to make a large purchase without trying to educate oneself about the product and who are the reputable retailers. If they feel they have been taken and have hard evidence of it, then go to the authorities. Posting messages to forums here and there only creates hearsay, nothing a legal authority is able to act upon. Until that is done in a way which gains a conviction, a publisher opens themselves up to legal problems telling an advertiser we are dropping you because you engage in illegal business practices.
Your rationale about having to depend on the legal system doesn't hold water. Other publications do the right thing, act upon the same information that is available to this publication, and ban scammers. That's all there is to it.
And as a result they have opened themselves up to potential litigation also. Not exactly holding to their fiduciary duty to their shareholders if they are a public company.
This all has me thinking of the saying about beating a dead horse. Why keep harping on something in a forum to people who have no control over the accepted advertisers? Especially when it has been done in a manner considered so disrespectful and negative that one of the people felt the need to depart supporting this forum.
As for other publishers, I get several of the leading photography publications available and a majority contain an advertisement for the company you have the vendetta against. So Shutterbug is hardly an isolated magazine which accepts their money. As for the publication which you've touted in the past as being the pinnacle of ethics, they have ads from places which have had lots written about their questionable practices as well.
Fiduciary duties include conducting business in an ethical manner, or at least they should. And where are the lawsuits against publications that ban scammers from their pages? "Lame excuse" is disrespectful? Fine, then tell me what whitewashing scammers' operations should be called.
The fact that there is more than one publishing company accepting these ads is no justification for doing that in the first place. And please don't put words in my mouth - I've never called any company "the pinnacle of ethics".
This forum and editor does not control the ad content. We get it. You are upset about it. You are addressing this to the wrong people. I have nothing against your dealing with this in an effective way, but your tone is such that we are all getting tired of it. Please haunt someone else's house and report back after a few months how you have reformed them. Then we can know how to follow your example.
I like your challenge and since you say you are willing to follow examples, here it is. Participants, including me, on another photography magazine's forum have spoken out against scammmers' ads in much the same way as in this thread on this forum, with one notable exception: the magazine took it seriously and within months banned a whole bunch of scammers. The publication in question is Popular Photography.
You bet I'm upset and you should be as well. Primedia has given me the runaround and done nothing.
So, George, are you now going to follow my example and take action?
In the way in which you've decided to attack those who have no control over the ad content, I would say that has definately been disrespectful. The negative way in which it was done has made some to feel like they can no longer participate here. I won't hazard to guess what that says about someone who does that without any contrition.
The pinnacle of ethics I was referring to is Pop Photo, whom you like to trot out each time everyone says go tell it to those who have the power. They accept ads companies that to this day you can find posts about calling them into question as scammers. That they don't take ads from one company or the other only shows that they perhaps have more control over their own ad content as opposed to the corporate offices. However, if they did act solely on the basis of hearsay evidence, then they themselves could be held liable for that. It's happened before, it will happen again.
Perhaps instead of these constant allegations of unethical action by Shutterbug it would be better served to make a constructive suggestion. One of which would be to suggest an articles on selecting quality equipment from quality retailers or how to identify prices and places which are too good to be true. Simply getting rid of advertising from these companies would most likely work as well as banning smoking ads has while education has been shown to have had a larger and lasting impact.
If you did your homework, you would find out that Pop Photo collects information from people like you and me who have had bad experiences in addition to operating a mystery buyer program and use a certain process to weed out the scammers. They make the effort to find the facts; they don't go by hearsay evidence as you so frivolously assert. If you took the effort you would find out that many dubious companies have been removed from their advertiser list and that they continue with this program of fact-based action. And I am sorry to say, that Shutterbug/Primedia does zilch in this regard, other than continue to justify their inaction, thereby enabling these scammers.
I think the Shutterbug staff is very capable of writing articles of the nature that you suggest, if they had the inclination.
Getting rid of these advertisers would reduce the number of unsuspecting people falling prey to these low-life companies, so don't chastise me for trying to prod Shutterbug/Primedia into action.
I'm perfectly aware that Pop Photo has a mystery shopper but that was not part of the discussion. While you bristle when you take it as people putting words in your mouth others like me equally resent your suggestions of stupidity and ignorance. It was your statement that Pop Photo acted when several on their forum complained while Shutterbug fails to do the same. This suggested that they only went by people's statements to their forum without documentation to support those claims. That is hearsay evidence. The only frivolousness would have been for a company to act upon those posts without concrete facts to check.
To expect the same from Shutterbug would be to assume they are organized and staffed the same ways as several have attempted to point out they are not. What everyone has repeatedly tried to point out is that much of what is handled in house at Pop Photo is handled not by Shutterbug but by Primedia. It does no good to keep attacking Shutterbug for something they don't control. That would be like saying all honey bees should be killed because I got stung by an Africanized bee.
But be this all as it may, I don't want to get trapped into also beating a dead horse and I have sandhill cranes to get ready to photograph.
Shutterbug/Primedia enables scammers to operate. It's time to stop finding excuses and act.
Riiight, Shutterbug and Primedia are responsible for all the bad business practices of others. By this extrapolation, if you fail to turn in every single person you see or know to be breaking the law then you are enabling them as well.
One would have to ask themselves if you think Shutterbug's ethics are so suspect because of one advertiser they have no control over, why keep coming here or reading their magazine. Take your beef back to the door at which it should be layed, Primedia's. Perhaps with actual facts from Pop Photo's investigations instead of posts to a message board.
Anyway, sympathies to your horse. I have many more productive pursuits than to play nanny for consumers that fail to educate themselves.
Here you go again. "Shutterbug and Primedia are responsible for all the bad business practices of others". It would be nice if you wouldn't make this stuff up and go overboard with your outlandish remarks. And let's stop this absolutely inane "discussion". It's time for Shutterbug/Primedia to act and your ranting and raving is not helping.
Let's see. You're the one who just ahead said that Shutterbug enables the scammers to operate. Only ranting anyone has been doing, and I'm not alone, is in trying to point out repeatedly that the door you want is at Primedia's doorstep, not Shutterbug's since they don't contract the ads.
Frankly, sir, I have never accused you of lying or making things up and would expect the same of you. I doubly resent it in that I have done none of the same in my statements. To state legal points is neither outlandish nor overboard as any other business owner or person who has to deal with gov't agencies worth his salt knows all too well.
I can see now why David opted to leave the forum.
I was wondering if this conference is open for professionals working in other fields. For instance if some students from sound technician schools can participate to the conference. Others universities hold conferences more often, not seven years distance, and about several topics on the agenda.
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