Technology: Don’t get fooled by Magzter

Technology: Don’t get fooled by Magzter
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Technology: Don’t get fooled by Magzter

Magzter sent me a pitch that seemed great: For $49 a year, I could get access to thousands of magazines and articles and share those articles and magazines with up to four total family members. I had subscribed to several magazines from Magzter in the past but this sounded great, especially since I looked at all the magazine covers they offered.

By Ray Hanania

If it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true.

This morning I received an email from Magzter, the online magazine subscription service. I had purchased magazines through them in the past but always found it difficult and cumbersome.

But the new email claimed that for only $49 a year, I could access get a “Gold” subscription and access thousands of great magazines and articles. The email had images of the front covers of some of the major magazines like Time, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Campaign Middle East and Rolling Stone magazine.

It sounded great. It seemed clear and I subscribed.

And that’s when I discovered it wasn’t great and it wasn’t clear.

Companies that don’t care about the public do this often. They mislead you in order to hook you. In this case, they put the covers of all the great magazines in the pitch.

The Arab Daily News

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Magzter App Image. Only magazines with the little Gold circle and "m" are available to "Gold" subscribers. If you knew that, you wouldn't subscribe to their pitch.

Magzter App Image. Only magazines with the little Gold circle and/or the Gold “m” on the bottom right of the cover are available to “Gold” subscribers. If you knew that, you wouldn’t subscribe to their pitch.

But, as it turns out, those great magazines are out of your reach as a “Gold” subscriber. You have to pay extra for them. What you get is the garbage subscriptions, a lot of worthless magazines that together might be worth $49 a year.

Worse is that it said I could share the “Gold” subscription with my family. That sounded great. I wanted to share the service with my wife and son, but every time I tried to “Share,” it led me to a dead page that said I am a subscriber.

So, I did reach out to Magzter through their online customer service button at the bottom of the website, only to be told that in order to “share” with your family, as promised, I would have to pay $10 more.

Of course, THAT was nowhere to be found in the email pitch or online at their website at Magzter.com.

When I explained that I was having problems accessing several of the Free Magazines, like Rolling Stone, Time, Newsweek, Wired, and Campaign Middle East, she explained that I could ONLY access magazines that had the little gold circle at the bottom right of the magazine cover image, something that also was not easily explained anywhere on their website.

The customer service rep was quick to ask if I wanted to pay $10 more to add my family members to the crappy list of “Gold” magazines, I declined. Although she definitely was willing to help me with that.

I asked if I could cancel the subscription, and of course, she said no. It’s “not allowed” according to their terms of their agreement.

Yea. I get it. You’re a misleading scam. I don’t like to be scammed and I think that people should know up front what they are getting and what they are not getting BEFORE they turn over their hard earned cash. In other words, stop misleading people just to grab a quick $49 profit.

Are they ashamed of their limited offering? Is that why they mislead people?

Magzter App Image. Only magazines with the little Gold circle and "m" are available to "Gold" subscribers. If you knew that, you wouldn't subscribe to their pitch.

Magzter. Share with your family. Right! You pay extra for it.

Fortunately, I am not poor. There are other ways to subscribe and not be misled and, in my opinion, cheated.

I could subscribe to the magazines I want, for an additional monthly or yearly fee through Magzter but I realize that anyone who is going to take my $49 by misleading me, isn’t worth doing any business with ever.

I can always go to Magazines.com and subscribe to individual magazines there. At least they didn’t lie to me.

My suggestion is to avoid Magzter until they decided to be a little more open and honest about what they offer.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, author and former Chicago City Hall reporter. Email him at rghanania@gmail.com.)

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rayhanania

rayhanania

Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and for TheArabDailyNews.com, and TheDailyHookah.com.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com www.arabnews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
rayhanania
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  • Suzanne Dawson

    I have been with Magzter for 2 years now and it’s a wonderful experience and every day it’s getting better. I am reading most of the magazines from my iPhone in articles format for small screens and all my favorite magazines from US including several lifestyle and Health magazines are part of Magzter Gold! It’s actually a shame on Zinio who is still in PDF format and not readable on iPhone and I stopped subscribing to them already. But I agree with Ray on the clarity on the list of magazines that are under Gold. Luckily for me I clicked in the link to see the participating magazines before I bought the subscription. Otherwise a great subscription from Magzter!

  • Fiilpe Brás

    You should had gone with Zinio. Magzter is known to provide really bad service.

    • Suzanne Dawson

      I don’t even know is Zinio exists! I thought they were dead after I stopped my subscriptions with them for the poor quality.

  • Frank

    @rayhanania:disqus,

    Last year I moved from Zinio to Magzter and till now, the service they are providing is way better than what Zinio offered. I do own a Magzter Gold membership via this application, which I have shared with my entire family members. I am glad that Magzter is providing such a huge collection of magazines for all the age groups at a lower price. As far as my experience with Magzter is concerned, they always care about customer satisfaction and I hope your issue gets resolved soon.

  • Michael John

    Dear Ray Hanania,

    Oops, it’s really bad that you have had a bad experience with Magzter. However, I’ve so far enjoyed reading my favorite magazines on Magzter and I have found Magzter GOLD as a cost-effective subscription as it gives access to 4,000+ magazines. I hope you get your issue rectified soon.

    Regards,
    Michael

    • http://www.TheDailyHookah.com/ Ray Hanania

      I didn’t say the magazines were bad … I said they mislead people with their system, implying that paying $49 a year for a “Gold membership will get you ALL the magazines when you only get some, probably ones you might not be reading … there are many other services that don’t exaggerate and that to me is a sad reflection on Magzter … why should people have to be misled about something … Tell us, which magazines you read, and I’ll tell you if you have to subscribe to them in addition to the misleading Gold subscription?

      • Suzanne Dawson

        Ray – While you are making a point, I would definitely value Magzter Gold more that what I am playing for. I am a magazine fanatic and my reading behavior changed after I started exploring magazine articles based on my interest. Magzter Gold gives me unlimited access to best articles I could consume.

        • http://www.TheDailyHookah.com/ Ray Hanania

          Again the point comes to hones marketing, not misleading marketing. You don’t imply that a subscription to Magzter Gold for $49.99 will give you 1-family sharing (it doesn’t) and access to all of the magazines you want to read, when in fact the list of major magazines you can access is limited. This is a gimmick to sell subscriptions in bulk to 2nd Rate publications that you can get almost for free elsewhere. It’s very disturbing.

          I did subscribe directly to several top tier magazines before paying individual subscription rates. Magzter targeted me (and others) implying this would be a good deal. It’s not. All they had to do was BE HONEST and say you can get a limited number of magazines for $49.99 and then provide a link to those magazines. Instead, they provide a link to ALL of the magazines and it is not until AFTER you subscribe that they explain you DON’T get access to ALL of the magazines on the Link List they provide. You only get access to some.

          That’s lying no matter how you try to defend it.

          • Michael John

            The thumbnails of Magzter GOLD magazines carry a small ‘Gold-coloured icon’ at the bottom right corner. Actually, I subscribed from their website, where they clearly list out the magazines that are a part of Magzter GOLD. You can explore them under /magztergold/magazines. I hope they add such a page on the app as well to avoid any confusion.