Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

SRDS Regroups - Again: Admitting a "Mistake," the List Directory Hopes to Woo Back Lost Business

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

SRDS Regroups - Again: Admitting a "Mistake," the List Directory Hopes to Woo Back Lost Business

Article excerpt

NEW YORK City-In the long run, says 21st Century Marketing president David Schwartz, the flap over changes in the Standard Rate and Data Service list directory will benefit the industry. But for SRDS itself, the damage control may have come too late.

After suffering a boycott from some major list companies unhappy with a new $7 list maintenance fee, SRDS has again announced a restructuring of its service-offering a discount rate program that permits new listings to appear, free of charge, for six months in a special section before moving to the appropriate classification.

"Let's face it, we made a mistake," SRDS president Craig Burr said in a two-page announcement to the industry. "We allowed this perception [that SRDS has become a paid listing directory] to build from the response to our policy change. We also made a mistake in communicating the change." Burr recently told Direct magazine that the SRDS directory's September issue will be about 70 pages smaller than previous issues have been.

Even though the latest policy change is expected to halt the decline and lure back lost business, industry members such as Schwartz are pointing to the new competitive climate that has arisen from the controversy. Oxbridge Communications, for example, announced that it is launching the National Directory of Mailing Lists this fall. In addition, more and more industry members are predicting a trend toward electronic directories.

"I think SRDS sort of out-smarted itself," says Schwartz, whose company pulled close to 100 lists from the directory before the latest change was announced. "It actually forced and created its own competition. It really made a strategical error. "

Although Schwartz commends SRDS for taking a "step in the right direction and reconsidering its ways," he says, "there is still some confusion among many of the list companies as to what we're really going to be paying for. …

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