Why I stopped subscribing to National Geographic and Rolling Stone

on Nov 30 in Blogroll by

As a freelance writer, I feel it’s important to support the publishing industry. Not surprisingly, I subscribe to almost 10 magazines, a daily newspaper and an online news site. But in the last year, the number of publications I subscribe to has dropped by two.

The latest casualty is National Geographic, a publication which features stunning photos and fascinating articles. Given those realities, why did I cancel my subscription? Well, it’s because the publication has become a telemarketer or a salesperson that just won’t take no for an answer. Since I began subscribing to it last March, it has sent me an “URGENT NOTICE” about every month or two telling me my “National Geographic Society membership is just about to expire.” I sent National Geographic an e-mail a few weeks back telling it to stop sending these notices until it was actually time to renew. Later that week, I received a notice. (To be fair, this one would have been sent out before I had sent my cease and desist e-mail.)

Checking the mail today, there was another URGENT NOTICE, so I just cancelled my subscription. The irony to this is that at the beginning of the year, I stopped subscribing to Rolling Stone for the exact opposite reason. The problem with Rolling Stone is that it never sent me any renewal notices. I subscribed to Rolling Stone for about 4.5 years and whenever my subcription came up for renewal, it never bothered to let me know. As a result, I would only know my subscription had lapsed once a month or so had passed and I would realize, ‘Rolling Stone hasn’t come in a while.’

The odd thing is if there’s one publication I’d love to have something published in, it is Rolling Stone, yet I no longer subscribe to it because of its subscription procedures. I had also sent it e-mails when my subscription would lapse telling it that it should provide reminders about subscriptions set to expire. Rolling Stone would just renew my subscription, but would never bother to apologize or anything.

The point is there’s a happy medium. National Geographic’s efforts to get me to renew my subscription were too much, while Rolling Stone didn’t do enough to get me to renew. As for the other publications I subsribe to, they’ve achieved that right level of balance.

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