Kudos to Harpers Magazine: Publisher Takes a Stand Against Giving Away Free Content

Photo District News just ran an interesting piece on how Harper’s publisher John R. MacArthur wrote a letter for the October issue of the magazine in which he took a strong stand against publishing free writing and photography on the web.

This is something dear to my heart and something I blogged about years back.  This “marketing wisdom” that the way to get people to buy your product or service is to give it to them free is nuts.  Obviously, if photographers are giving their work for free to any magazine with a blog that will get them “exposure”, then the subscribers to that magazine have no reason to pay for the magazine anymore…. and the magazine has no resources to pay the photographer.  And I hate to be the one to tell you this folks, but that flood of people coming to your door to see more of your free content are never going to open up their wallets and hand you some cash.

The arguments MacArthur makes as to how this hurts not only the publications (and all content creators) who do it, but also the consumer can’t be said better.

Please take a minute to read about this in PDN.  It will change the way you think about your own marketing and cause you to examine just how it is your own marketing efforts might very well be the reason so many magazines now feel they don’t have the money to pay you.  http://pdnpulse.pdnonline.com/2013/10/if-we-spend-25k-on-a-photo-essay-readers-should-pay-to-see-it-says-harpers-publisher.html

Then take a minute to show your support of Harper’s and the stand they have taken to protect the industry in which we work.  Go to the news stand and buy a copy so you can read MacArthur’s full letter.

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