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Seed Magazine and Science Blogs

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

I recently noticed that it had been a while since I’d received a new issue of Geek Monthly magazine. Turns out, they went under six months ago.  Huh.  I guess I won’t be getting a refund of my remaining subscription fees. That prompted me to look at some of my other less-established magazine subs, and the only one that was missing was Seed.  Seed magazine was started four years ago as something of a spiritual successor to the 80s gem OMNI.  OMNI was a fabulous combination of science and science fiction, which in later years added far too much pseudoscience and then decided to jump into the “online only” realm before anyone was ready to read magazines online. They are sometimes missed. But this is about Seed.

Seed was pretty decent, actually. They had a lot of good writers working for them, and they seemed to understand the online world fairly well. They created a site which they used as something of cross-pollination project between print and blogging, the much-visited ScienceBlogs. A while back, they lost a few of their high-profile bloggers to Discover Magazine’s active blog portal. It appears that they shuttered the magazine last fall, with the promise that they weren’t going to quit publishing a magazine, they were just reducing the frequency and won’t you just wait until spring 2010 and you’ll get a new issue.  Um…yeah. Still waiting, and there doesn’t seem to be any official word (or at least not findable on their site) about where Seed Magazine went.

Last month, the ScienceBlogs folks noticed a new blog in their midst, one written by PepsiCo. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth, ending with Pepsi’s blog being dropped. This week, there is a bit more of a kerfuffle. It’s a bit vague around the edges, but it seems the need to make money has become more important to Seed Media than any respect they may have had for being a science media focal point. I’m not clear on why this all came to a head today, rather than during the Pepsi Challenge, but a new batch of bloggers have jumped from ScienceBlogs and it’s not looking good for the site as a whole.  Interestingly, the biggest SciBlogger, the one who accounts for over half of their total traffic, has decided to go on strike/haitus rather than quit, but maybe Seed Media can bring ScienceBlogs back from this brink that their own inept management has brought them to. At a minimum, they need to realize that without content, their advertising department is completely worthless.

Meanwhile, where can I get a refund for the remaining issues on my subscription?  Hello?  *knock knock*


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 20th, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC)
Good luck on getting refunds on either. I've been getting that "on hiatus, but we'll be back" excuse for nearly thirty years, and I've never received a refund from any of them. This included magazines for which I had been writing, so I got shafted out of my check as well as my subscription money. And yet people wonder why I quit writing.

As for Geek Monthly, apologies, but apparently you missed quite the war. Apparently, the editors themselves were having issues with getting paid, and in usual fanboy fashion, kept working for free long after it was obvious they were never going to see their checks. I haven't seen this much of a mess with a print magazine since the one and only print copy of Film Threat back in '97, where Chris Gore still runs and hides when confronted by people asking for refunds on two-year subscriptions. (Of course, considering that Geek Monthly was brought to us by the same folks responsible for renaming Cinefantastique "CFQ" before driving it into the ground, should we be surprised?)
Jul. 20th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
I have a bit of a history with magazine subscriptions. I paid for a 2-year sub to Argosy, based on its first two issues. I don't believe they ever had a third.
Jul. 20th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
Oh, I had a whole list. My favorite was buying a subscription to Factsheet Five right before an article of mine was supposed to run. The publisher decided, about a week before that issue was to go to press, that he was going to sell the magazine. (Apparently, "some guy" told him that $70,000 was a reasonable price, because "it's worth even more.") All queries about payment for the article were referred to the editor who bought it, and he promptly disappeared. When the issue came out, my article had been replaced with a three-page wank from the publisher about "the HISTORY of Factsheet Five", the kill fee vaporized, and subscribers were told that the new owner would be responsible for fulfillment or compensation. Four years later, he was still collecting and cashing subscription checks, and I haven't seen an issue of Factsheet Five anywhere in twelve years. Have you?

(Sorry. As you can tell, that was a sore point. About the only good thing that could be said about Seth Friedman was that he wasn't a child molester like his father and brother.)
Jul. 21st, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC)
Aww, man? SEED went under? I used to have a subscription, but was out of work when it ran out. And have been broke since. It was a beautiful magazine, too. Like, graphic-design wise.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )