Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

How to Put Reader Service Online

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

How to Put Reader Service Online

Article excerpt

Jennifer Sucov is former features editor of FOLIO

If readers are ready, the technology is here.

Would you like to increase response to reader service cards so you can deliver advertisers more leads and readers mote product information? (Who wouldn't?) Doug Johnson did Just that by eliminating the reader service card from Midrange Systems, a 50,000-controlled-circulation book for users of IBM AS/400 computers, and replacing it with a reader service program on the publication's Web site.

Midrange Systems is just one of several titles testing online reader service Traditional lead-processing companies such as Berkshire Information Systems, in Lenox, Massachusetts, and JCI Data Processing, Inc, in Cinnaminson, New Jersey are providing publishers with an online complement to print-based reader service, while newcomers like InfoX-press corn, Inc, in Naples, Florida, are developing an alternative to what they feel is a costly and inefficient process.

"We re not taking the reader service card and putting it online We're using the Internet to re-engineer what reader service is," says Erik Matlick, director of sales for InfoXpress.

Matlick, a former ad sales rep for Ziff-Davis Publishing Company, saw the inherent inefficiencies in traditional reader service and, with his partner Joe Buckheit, founded InfoXpress com in September 1996.

"Reader service leads are going down because people don't want to wait for the information anymore," says Matlick "Many advertisers have Web sites listed on their ads, but if a reader goes to that Web site as a result of seeing the ad in your magazine, you can t track where the lead comes from Publishers lose and so do advertisers."

Not only is traditional reader service inefficient, according to Matlick, it's costly Magazines shell out thousands of dollars a month just to print and bind the cards, pay for postage and process the leads-all before an advertiser receives them (usually on labels) Depending on the circulation of the publication, publishers can end up spending between $3,000 and $30,000 or more a month on reader service.

Old way is costly

Doug Johnson of Midrange Systems says he's spending half of what he used to on reader service with Info Tracker from InfoXpress, which sets prices based on circulation, frequency and number of leads processed.

The advantage is that readers get instant access to products and information, and publishers and advertisers benefit as well Through InfoTracker's PC-based system, publishers can see real-time reports that track the number of leads generated by advertiser or editorial mention, or by issue InfoTracker also lets publishers sell banner ads on the reader service request page Advertisers receive active leads and can download lead information directly from the Internet into a database, eliminating scanning or keying in leads from labels. …

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