Making Communications Buzz

Monday, August 21, 2006

For Now, Forget About Those Free E-Mail News Alerts From BizJournals. They Were Summarily Nuked

A few weeks ago, I wrote extolling the virtues of BizJournals Business News E-mail Alerts: Free News Alerts from BizJournals.com: Better Business News. Well, I spoke too soon. BizJournals took away that privilege without even letting people know they were going to do it.

Here's my e-mail to the subscription manager in Pittsburgh.
---,
We spoke about e-mail alerts a few weeks ago on the phone and by e-mail. At that time, articles in other bizjournals besides Pittsburgh (I am a Pittsburgh print subscriber) were available to me when I got an e-mail alert.

This morning it appears this is no longer the case. I received the usual e-mail alert based on my search criteria, but any story I click that is not a Pittsburgh story is not accessible when I am taken to the respective Web site.

Since it would be unreasonable to expect me to subscribe to every bizjournal around the country, the purpose of these alerts appears to have been thwarted by your new subscription policy.

Unless bizjournals intends to offer individual articles for purchase for some nominal fee -- which, in my opinion, would still be a highly unsatisfactory solution -- or perhaps to offer a special subscription that would allow me access to articles other than those in the Pittsburgh edition -- why would I want to receive alerts any longer?

As a matter of public relations, it also would be fitting for a business professional-oriented publication like yours to do a bit more to keep subscribers in the loop regarding these changes. It does not seem like bizjournals values its customers much if it is willing to make dramatic changes to subscription policies and their relationship to your system of e-mail alerts without making any effort to let customers know what changes to expect.

For someone like me who has used the alerts for many years and considers them a valuable resource -- so much so that I recommend them to friends and customers all the time -- the unannounced termination of access to stories outside of Pittsburgh is a slap in the face.

I should add that after using the alerts for about a year, I decided to become a print subscriber. It seems plausible that those I have recommended the service to over the years might have done the same. Obviously, I won't be recommending the service any longer.

Please let me know whether bizjournals has plans to review the current subscription policy with regard to access to articles.
Another case of corporate bureaucracy acting without regard for its customers.

Your thoughts?

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