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Getting a Free Subscription to MacWeek

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MacWeek a.k.a MacLeak is a very useful weekly publication of new developments in the Macintosh world. It is glossy, and has many advertisements. MacWeek has a limited number of free subscriptions, and to get one, you must fill out a very detailed application form. The form asks you a lot of rather specific questions about the amount of hardware and software you have on hand, can influence buying decisions about, are responsible for getting others to buy, or actually buy yourself. This is obviously so that MacWeek can charge a lot for advertising based on the very large purchasing clout of their subscribers. In my experience, the usual result of sending in the form is that you get a postcard stating that you have been placed on the waiting list, since there are no free subscriptions available. So that you may have something to do while you are waiting for your name to crawl to the top of the waiting list, MacWeek thoughtfully sells your name, address, and other vital information to a mailing list, which ensures that you receive an enormous amount of junk mail.

By the way, the advertisers could probably negotiate a lower rate if they did some math, because the total number of computers allegedly purchased annually by MacWeek applicants exceeds the number of total computers ever built in the history of computing by several orders of magnitude. This is because--although I would, of course, never do this--I have it on good authority from several free subscribers that most applicants slightly exaggerate the number of computers they are responsible for purchasing, in order to (apparently successfully) qualify for the Magic MacWeek Free Subscription Waiting List.

In any case, the form states very clearly that you must fill out all sections and answer all questions completely and specifically, or your application will be filled in The Circular File. The second-to-last section asks for the name of other individuals at your office address who might also qualify for a MacWeek free subscription. Since I essentially was running a one-person operation at the time, I immediately offered the only other occupant of my office--Ralph the Gerbil--the position of Vice President, which he accepted, and I dutifully put his name on the form.

A short while after that, Ralph began receiving an enormous amount of junk mail, despite the fact that neither he nor I were offered a subscription.

Finally, after four years of filling out applications, I actually got a free MacWeek subscription. Unfortunately, I moved out of state one month later. The official procedure for changing your address is to fill out an entire new application, and check the "address change" box on the back of the form. I did this, and the only result was that I received a postcard stating that I had been placed on the waiting list. Despite many phone calls and repeated assurances from MacWeek customer "service" that my address has been updated, they are still piling up at my old address over one year later. I expect I will start receiving them at this address in approximately four years.

Update (5/18/96)

After nearly a year and one-half, I have received my first issue of MacWeek (dated 5/13/96) at my no-longer-new address. Of course, I am moving again next weekend, so I will again have to attempt to change my address. Luckily, MacWeek now provides a handy, high-tech on-line change of address form, which still, inexplicably, requires you to fill out an entire new application. At least now you can have the satisfaction of knowing that your request will begin being ignored immediately, without the extra one-week delay of snail-mail. Therefore, based on the new data I have accumulated, I can safely predict that, instead of taking one year and five months to find it's way to my new address, it will only take a year, four months, and three weeks. Or however long it takes me to move again again.

This is not to give you the impression that MacWeek, while slow, finally did manage to get it right--in fact, back issues are still steadily accumulating at my old address.

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Last Updated:
Friday, April 11, 1997
at 6:07 PM by JCR
Copyright ©1997 John C. Rivard.
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