‘The New Yorker’ vs. the Obamas
A Prior Run-in With the Newhouse Organization
My innards harbor a smoldering anger at The New Yorker’s owner—Advance Publications and the Newhouse family that controls it. It’s the result of a smarty-pants stunt by a New Yorker writer designed for no other purpose than to hurt magazines—his own and all others.
Magazine blow-ins—the little subscription cards that fall out of magazines—are very, very efficient in bringing in new subscribers. The reason is obvious: If a non-subscriber reads an article in a magazine and wishes to subscribe, the means to do so is at hand. All you do is fill in the postage-paid card and drop it in the mail. The magazine starts arriving, and you pay the bill.
Blow-ins (and bind-ins) are efficient. They are responsible for an average of 12 percent of new magazine subscriptions at a cost per order of $5 to $10—peanuts compared to a direct mail shot.
Back in 1987, New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin went on “The Tonight Show” and told Johnny Carson’s millions of viewers how much he hated blow-in cards that keep falling out of magazines. He said that any time the audience members came across a subscription card, they should write a cute little message to the circulation people and drop it in the mail with no name or address and no order. The magazines were stuck paying postage for these blank cards. He also suggested this to readers of his syndicated newspaper column, which appeared in the Conn. Stamford Advocate, my local newspaper at the time. I wrote in the June 1987 issue of WHO’S MAILING WHAT!:
What Trillin at age 52 has revealed is a very sick mind—the same brat mentality of the adolescent computer hackers, who create Trojan horse programs, causing hard disks to crash with an “Arf! Arf! Gotcha!” appearing on the screen. Trillin may be sicker. Where these computer weirdoes create random evil, Trillin dives Kamikaze-like into the very industry that gave him a voice and made him rich.