I bought a cheap two-year subscription to Business 2.0 a while back; it expires in February.
Today I got a note informing me that they're about to renew my subscription "at the guaranteed low rate of 27% off the newsstand price" - $39.95 for 11 issues.
Hold it right there. That's four times my original rate of $10 a year.
On the newsstand this week, their current issue contains an insert card (you know, the ones that fall to the floor as soon as you pick up the issue) offering two years for $11.60 - Canadian. That's about one-seventh the "guaranteed low rate" they're offering me.
Yet on the back of my renewal notice, Business 2.0 promises me that "Your price is one of the lowest rates available to anyone, anywhere."
I can't imagine it's possible to find a higher rate. When I hit the Net to look, my first Google response offered a Canadian rate of $13.75 for 22 issues. That's a long way from the "outstanding savings" Business 2.0 is offering its most important customer - the paying subscriber who wants to renew.
(Maybe it's a selling feature for advertisers: "Our subscribers are so dumb they don't shop around. They'll pay any price you ask.")
Business 2.0 calls itself "The playbook for a new generation of leaders." In an era where we are supposed to be respecting and empowering existing customers as our most valuable asset, ripping them off doesn't quite seem to fit the 2.0 spirit.
Speaking as a veteran editor and publisher, a magazine subscription is the best entertainment or publishing bargain you can find (even at $39.95). But treating good customers this way is bad business.