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"Tales from Behind the Curtain #1" Topic


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536 hits since 6 Jul 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian06 Jul 2019 6:12 p.m. PST

I thought it might be fun to share a few stories, now and then, of what happens "behind the scenes" here at TMP.

For example, bill collecting. TMP has several hundred advertisers (yes, really!), the vast majority of which are quite good about paying their advertising fees on time. I have heard horror stories of what the hobby magazine publishers go through in terms of collecting payments, and I have always been grateful TMP has never had that problem.

But a few bad apples are inevitable.

So sometimes I have to make phone calls to see if bad debts can be collected, and I get some amusement from the cases where people pretend to be 'unavailable'.

For example, there was a company years ago that owed us some money, and I called them every month or so to see if I could coax payment out of them. Amazing, every single time I called, the proprietor wasn't available! Instead, his 'father' would answer the phone. (Maybe it really was his father. Maybe he was just pretending.) So every month, I would talk to this 'father' about his irresponsible son who didn't pay his bills. I thought maybe 'dad' would pay up for his son, but I never got paid.

More recently, Editor Gwen has been trying to reach another company which abruptly stopped paying their advertising bill. Finally, I was contacted by New Partner Guy. He said he was the new partner in the business, and said that the other partner said they didn't owe any money. He didn't have any evidence that advertising had been cancelled, he didn't know anything about the arrangement, but he just stonewalled me and wouldn't let me talk to anybody else. They still owe us a small bundle of money.

Then there's another company that will happily chat with us any time, phone or email, but they just won't pay their bill or tell us why not. They used to be very active on TMP, we published Hobby News from them regularly until they went stealth mode on us. Then they put our email addresses on some kind of list, and Editor Gwen and I now get emails from random companies that think we work for this company.

Lastly, there's a company in the U.K. that was very active on TMP, sent us lots of Hobby News stories, but they said they couldn't pay us in the usual ways. So they would wait until their balance was quite high, then send us an international check (which I had to personally take down to my bank, and pay exorbitant fees to cash). This went on for a number of years, but at last the balance was getting quite high and they weren't paying, so we had to shut their advertising down. We still invoice them regularly, and once in a blue moon they'll respond, tell us they're sending payment… but they never do. Maybe they are just inept, but I could sure use that payment in my bank account…

rmaker06 Jul 2019 6:52 p.m. PST

A story from the other side. Back 40 years ago, we at Discovery Games took out an ad in a now defunct gaming magazine. As far as we could tell, the ad never ran, probably because the 'zine folded. But for several years we got letters from the last editor, claiming we owed them money. Since we had prepaid when we sent the ad artwork, we knew we didn't. And the letters never included an amount, just a demand for payment. The first couple of times we wrote back, asking for proof that they had run the ad and pointed out that we HAD paid (with a photocopy of the check). After that we just ignored them. They finally went away.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2019 7:45 p.m. PST

A pity.

Sounds like you need to get the money up front, before the ads run, instead. Kinda like the TV Cable people do.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian06 Jul 2019 8:06 p.m. PST

Sounds like you need to get the money up front, before the ads run, instead. Kinda like the TV Cable people do.

It's a calculated risk. It's also in our interest to make the threshold for new advertisers as low as possible, especially considering many of these companies have never advertised anywhere before.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP07 Jul 2019 9:17 p.m. PST

This reminds me of what happened to Geek Chic gaming table company. He grossed over $8 USD million in sales, over 8 years. He went on the reality TV show, Shark Tank, cut a deal with Robert, one of the Sharks, on the show. After the show, his silent partner came forward, gave him the same amount of money Robert offered him, so he canceled his deal with the Shark…

He later went out of business, being millions of Dollars in debt! His property, including finished, shrink-wrapped, custom tables, which had been fully paid for, by customers, went on the auction block. His suppliers got the proceeds from the auction, and his customers got nothing.

Credit for a business is, IMO, a bad thing. Helped my nephew start up a business, over the past three years. I told him that if he borrowed money for his business, I'd walk away.

Hard to believe, Bill, that you would let an advertiser run up a large tab. I'd suggest fixing a credit limit, and cutting anyone off, who reaches that limit. Just my opinion. Cheers!

von Schwartz12 Jul 2019 3:27 p.m. PST

Y'know we all love sausage, we just don't wanna know how its made.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian12 Jul 2019 8:42 p.m. PST

Y'know we all love sausage, we just don't wanna know how its made.

Apparently some people want to know, because lots of people reading this one… grin

von Schwartz13 Jul 2019 6:27 p.m. PST

Nothing personal, I'm not saying: just saying.

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