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April 25, 2006

Comments

Roopinder Tara

Murray, "a" magazine became "AUGIWorld," the official publication of AUGI, Autodesk User Group International. http://www.augiworld.com/magazine/

Murray Clack

I used to write articles for AutoDesk Press' magazin called 'a'. I wrote a few articles for them which was to provide side-by-side comparisons of AutoCAD add-on products. That magazine was written by unbiased users for unbiased users. I have no idea what ever happened to that publication... is it still around?

Dave

You nailed it. I am sick of marketing types trying to tell us what we need ... and for a small fee I will provide it, oh and I have made it so convoluted and confusing that you will need to pay another small fee for me to explain to you how to use it. Meanwhile from a productive standpoint they have nothing to offer as, they are salespeople first and foremost. I have been looking for a place to absorb and expand in a place populated by action oriented people. I hope this is that place?

ralphg

To complete the circle:

The magazine offers the vendor his own article as a reprint.

The vendor then hands out the reprint as proof of his product's validity.

The image of drinking bathwater comes to mind.

David Opsahl

All issues of editorial ethics aside, I wonder if the more intruiging question might be - does it even matter?

I have worked in this industry since disks were formatted using paper tape, on both the customer and the vendor side. In the former, I never used editorial information for any purpose whatsoever; in the latter, I can't ever recall a prospect or customer referring to an editorial source as having had an impact on their decision to evaluate or not evaluate a product - much less purchase one.

That being the case, one has to wonder - who benefits from the placement of editoral material? I think the initial post of Part 3 has it nailed, finally; vendors can't say no to buying adspace when they are provided the opportunity to have their articles published for free.

Vendors gain value by the placement of editorial content because it can be repurposed as marketing collateral; publishers benefit because the vendors will support the publication with advertisting revenue. Its a neat closed system - except that the market isn't in the loop.

And I don't think the market particularly cares. The holy grail of marketing communications is referenceable case studies; the reason why should be obvious - what matters to people who are risking money and in some cases careers on the selection of a product or service is knowing that it will do the job they expect from it - period. And the most valuable voice in that situation is the voice of experience, not the voice of the vendor - however it's presented.

Edwin Muirhead

This strikes a chord: whenever I see an article by an employee of a CAD company (or related service-provider), I always prepare my pinch of salt... Even if they're being honest, there's little chance of them recommending a "competitor".

Anyway - I'd second your call for "valuable rapport between real-world experts and eager readers" - and make mention of Profiles magazine [www.profilesmagazine.com] - who always manage to attract several articles and tips from real CAD users (in this case Pro/ENGINEER + related software).

(ps - thanks for your writings here... the blog quickly secured a place on my RSS reader and my own blog links list, alongside Mr Grabowski)

ralphg

'AutoCAD Magazin', a German-language magazine, is completely vendor-written.

Almost as bad: stand-alone product reviews, where products are not reviewed in comparison with competitors.

Even today, Autodesk Marketing sometimes doesn't make it clear that Lynn Allen is an employee promoting Autodesk software, such as recent banner ads for Inventor.

Overall, I think vendors are quite happy for readers to be confused over the source of editorial material.

Around 1989-90, CADalyst's publisher decided on a 2-fer-1 deal for advertisers: take out a full page ad in the December issue, and get a second ad-page free written up in editorial style. The part that ticked us in editorial off, was that the second ad page was taken out of the page budget for editorial content!

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