Readers of Sunday’s Daily Herald were greeted with a front page article on “Why our digital news cannot be free” written by their editor, John Lampinen. In the article, which was at the very top of the front page, Lampinen goes into a very long list of reasons as to WHY the Daily Herald can no longer offer online access at no charge.
…we have been giving our content away online at the same time that we’ve been adding to our costs with investments in websites and other digital platforms.
Lampinen goes on to say that current print newspaper subscribers are carrying this burden.
That’s not fair to print newspaper subscribers. It’s put an undue burden on them to pay the bills, to essentially subsidize the digital experience for non subscribers.
What Lampinen failed to mention was the reduced weekly rates that newspaper subscribers would now be charged once this ‘burden’ is removed from their backs via the Daily Herald’s new Total Access program. (Of course, this is just wishful thinking)
Lampinen quotes portions of CEO and Chairman, Douglas K. Ray’s letter sent to subscribers on August 29th stating:
Newspapers all over the country are realizing that they can no longer rely on the income of advertisers…
A new payment structure will enable us to continue to provide the kind of quality local news and journalism you expect from the Daily Herald.
Again, Lampinen mentions the new payment plan:
And so, in combination of the introduction of new subscription plans….
Near the end of the article, which continued onto page 16, Lampinen made the “opt-out” requirement look more like an “opt-in” instead, as he wrote the following:
Also in planning for this transition, we specifically decided that the pricing structure must look out for print subscribers. Their loyalty has sustained the newspaper all these years. Because of that, when we offer print subscribers the option of adding our newly expanded digital access, they will receive sharp discounts for the ne Subscriber Total Access membership.
Can you hear the cash registers going Cha-Ching at the Daily Herald as Lampinen continues with the smoke and mirrors regarding their “opt-out” requirement? Lampinen writes in the article: “we offer print subscribers the option of adding” INSTEAD of saying “we offer print subscribers the option of “opting-out” of the program, which IS the current requirement.
In an earlier post it was suggested that the Daily Herald’s MANDATORY “opt-out” requirement to avoid an AUTOMATIC $4.00 increase on print subscribers invoices was nothing more than a cleverly structured, well thought out (based on typical mailer response statistics), money grabbing scam on their part.
One last thing about today’s FRONT PAGE article. It continued the Daily Herald’s failure to offer ANY instructions on HOW to “opt-out” of their new Subscriber Total Access program.
The Hill’s Congress Blog had an article on June 13th that stated:
Telephone companies have opened their billing and collection systems to third-party companies, and some of those companies have quietly been swindling consumers out of tens of millions of dollars each year. They trick phone providers into adding unauthorized charges on bills for services either not ordered, agreed to, or used. The amounts are often small enough, like $2, that people don’t notice. But the money adds up big-time. By some estimates, consumers are paying tens of millions a year for unauthorized charges in a practice called “cramming.”
If a print subscriber to the Daily Herald is signed up for their EZ Pay plan, their credit card will be automatically charged the added $4.00 per billing period if they failed to “act” on the MANDATORY requirement. It would seem that charging for this type of “unauthorized charges on bills for services either not ordered, agreed to, or used” would be the same as what the telecom industry is being investigated for. A print subscribers failure to ‘act’ on the Daily Herald’s MANDATORY “opt out” provision does NOT mean that they “ordered, agreed to, or will ever use” the Subscribers Total Access program. In addition, they have received little or no instructions for “opting out”. Do you see the similarities between the telecom industry “cramming” on their phone bills and the Daily Herald’s “cramming” on theirs, also for unauthorized charges?
Since the online “opt-out” page is being kept so secretive, it has been once again, offered to OUR readers and subscribers: DAILY HERALD OPT-OUT