’s creator responds to critics with incomprehensible buzz-speak

If you follow my link blog, you may have caught my comments about the “Anquilla-based” “magazine-sharing” website, For the record, technically, what is being shared are PDFs of magazines and magazine articles, not actual magazines.

My comments have basically been, “I wonder when they’ll be shut down.” Last week, Folio: reported that the consumer magazine trade group MPA has threatened legal action against them. Today, the website’s creator who is conveniently named John Smith sent an e-mail to the Press Gazette, suggesting the site is a service to the magazine industry.


“We have every intention of working with the industry to provide not only revenue streams that are vast, but also an answer for the publishers in general. Our method will increase current revenue, halt and reverse advertising revenue lost to the internet, and overcome the lack of the ability for magazines to stay current.”

Mr. Doe, I mean, Smith, goes on to say:

“We have ways of drawing revenue from a number of sources, some more obvious than others. Mygazines is hardly a pirate website with the interest of breaking the industry. Rather, we offer a paradigm shift that is far more fiscally comprehensive than meets the eye and yet easily transitionable by even the biggest publishers.”

Had it not been for that e-mail, I think I could have dreamed up some “information wants to be free” philosophical defense for Mr. Smith. I would have said Mr. Smith is just catching the whole Free wave.

But then he had to write an email using phrases and words like paradigm shift and transitionable. I think anyone who uses the term “fiscally comprehensive” should be sued.

Note of irony: The idea of physical “magazine sharing” is, ironically, not something that magazine publishers discourage. If were a service that, say, facilitated you sharing a print magazine with your co-workers or friends — for instance, a BookCrossing for magazines — magazine publishers would be applauding the efforts as any sharing of a physical magazine helps increase the “pass-along” readership of the magazine, and thus enables the magazine to tout a huge “readership” number for the magazine, sometimes many times more than its actual circulation. Obviously (at least as it would seem from the MPA’s action), when it comes to a PDF of the magazine, publishers don’t see the value of pass-along readership. I guess it’s because such pass-along can’t be measure scientifically like, say, the way they scientifically audit physical magazine pass-along readership. (Yes, that was also irony.)

  • Hilarious! All of it… I’m actually just disturbed by the name. It just feels like an unholy intentional misspelling.

  • What ever this guy writes or says: The industry shows the Napster reflex …

    If there is an interest on such a service by users, why not talk to them (and others) and but some creative mind to it, finding ways how to improve this service and benefit from it …?

  • Hugo, perhaps my nuance doesn’t translate well. I have always believed that magazines are better off by using their content online to drive other revenue opportunities. And my reference to “pass-along” readers has some basis in the belief that magazine publishers should be working with anyone they can to get their content seen and appreciated — and passed along — by as many potential customers as possible.

    Wanting to sue or shut-down this service is, like you suggest, a knee-jerk reaction. There’s probably something there worth watching and learning from — even worth cooperating with.

    However, when someone operates with a fictitous name using off-shore servers, it’s hard to “talk with them.”

  • Doug Shore

    Rex, years of doing passalong studies of many magazines covering many industries have convinced me that the passalong readership of any magazine is always 2.2 to 2.3 readers per subscriber. Those studies must have been scientific to result in such precision. (More irony, for those keeping score.) I have no doubt that a study of PDF magazine distribution would indicate passalong readership somewhere in that range. (No irony necessary.)

  • In regards to : This post about trying out a “technology flip test” in which eBook advocates become defenders of paper and vice-versa made me think of the longest-running debate on the magozinosophere. Bob, Samir, give it a shot.

    I will any time and any place. I love the whole concept of it. What a wonderful debate it could/would be. So long as Samir doesn’t cheat. You know what I mean, we accept the challenge, we do our home work and both try to win…. Except he doesn’t try to win too hard and therefore, I lose the long term real debate, by winning the short term one. Not that Samir would do anything like that , you understand.

  • John Smith responds via email:

    Saw your article. Funny. Understandable given that we have not unveiled our full concept.

    That being said, information being free and revenue streams available to those who create the content are not mutually exclusive. The idea for the site and it’s final phase to come, was borne out of a need from the consumer and a lack of response from the publishing industry. Not for money. We are consumers first.

    People share magazines everyday with friends and family, coworkers and students to students. Information is already being passed along freely as has been the case forever. Though publishers estimate their circulation including sharing, there is no way for them to know for sure or receive revenue for such. And why reprint an old issue if you’re not sure it will sell? And which issue? The consumer is being robbed of A BUNDLE of past history and information and comparisons in viewpoints over time. Silly, given that all of this information can be made freely available by the publishers to the public and still increase their revenue while further pleasing the consumer.

    If there is an even better way for global consumers to share and access information freely and immediately while still benefiting those who create the content, isn’t it a win win?

  • Eds23

    The only companies that should be upset by the Mygazines site are digital edition newsstands and the likes of Zinio because if Mygazines is allowed to continue, and the users upload each issue of a title, their business models are now defunct as far as I can see.

    The only issues I see are that the quality of the PDF’s uploaded isn’t fantastic. The scanned pages don’t always join up well and the images look quite blurry in a lot of cases. Mind you, as most digital magazines have the function to download PDF’s of the pages, it would only take a few a few single minded users to use them instead of scans and essentially you have the same product for free.

    I have no problem at all with Mygazines and wish them the best of British! …in many ways I feel it was inevitable that a site like this started up and I really don’t see the difference between this and all the copyright infringements on YouTube, and music and film distribution via P2P networks.

    Rather than try and sue them, publishers should be trying to work with them and try and understand some of the benefits they may reap through realising how content can be distributed through file sharing and social networks….something that not many of them have the slightest clue about.

    I really don’t get the name though!!!!