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POB Magazine Moves To New Pay-To-Play Model  

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Wendell
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For decades, printed trade magazines focusing on the surveying profession have been free. In exchange for filling out a simple survey (see what I did there?), any surveyor or aspiring surveyor could get a free subscription to one of these magazines. The magazines were funded by advertisers so that those of us on the ground wouldn't have to foot the bill.

Early in my career, I learned of POB Magazine and Professional Surveyor Magazine, and I subscribed to both of them immediately. I didn't find the advertisements to be a problem -- in fact, they seemed to complement the subject matter. The written articles were informative and interesting, and I learned a lot just from reading them. But on top of that, the advertisements kept me abreast of technological innovation and tools that were available to me and my employer. I looked forward to each new issue.

At some point, The American Surveyor joined the mix. In fact, I remember that it launched as a new surveying magazine you could only receive with a paid subscription. Everything about it seemed to be the same otherwise. I don't particularly remember it having less advertisements, but maybe it did. We're digging pretty deep into past memories, so forgive me if they aren't 100% accurate.

One day, The American Surveyor announced that they were converting into a free model, much like the other magazines. Did they not have enough subscribers to support the magazine? I don't have an answer to that question. Nor do I actually know why they converted to a non-paid subscription model. But the fact of the matter is, all three of our trade magazines were now free. This went on for many, many years.

Until now.

POB Magazine recently announced "POB Premium", with content available only to those with a paid subscription. While I don't have any inside insight into why they've chosen this direction, I do find myself wondering if it is somehow related to the fall of newspapers (printed media). For example, my local newspaper currently allows you to view five articles on their website before you need a paid subscription to read more. This appears to be the same method POB is using for their paywall.

POB seems to have structured the new system to fund premium content -- presumably why they've deemed it "POB Premium". But what is premium content in this case? Is it somehow better than their old content? In my mind, it implies that their previous content isn't premium.

I've been watching the trade magazines evolve from the sidelines since 1986. While some have been slow to change, hanging onto old ideals, it was Professional Surveyor Magazine that saw the impending changes to our profession -- and embraced them. Now known as xyHt Magazine, they seem to have restructured themselves to serve all geospatial professions while maintaining their history of serving Land Surveyors.

What do you think of the new POB paywall? Are you going to subscribe? Or will you be dropping your subscription? Why?

32 Replies
Dave Lindell
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It was the first surveying magazine as far as I can remember, but I wouldn't pay for what it puts out today.

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NomeSurveyor
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Wendell, you are unfortunately correct. And frankly, I'm not super-interested in surveying stories that occur in other countries, including our neighbors to the North.
We all don't scan everything nor do we all have Lidar drones (not yet, anyway?).
I don't particularly want to pay for what is substantially advertising and stories that I can poorly relate to.
I had my 15 seconds of fame once upon a time in "P.O.B." and I was proud to be a part but aside from a few habitual columnists (Gary, you know who you are) there just isn't much there anymore that attracts my attention.......

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Norman Oklahoma
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I haven't seen POB Magazine for some time. Perhaps a couple of years. Same for American Surveyor. I'm still getting XYHt, I think. I'm just not that interested in yet another sales pitch. Paradoxically, I might be willing to pay for a magazine if it give me reviews and articles that are not just extended advertisements.  

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Rick Taylor
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Once upon a many years ago I looked forward each month to PoB magazine arriving on my desk. Then it became a collection of advertorials and infomercials and content irrelevant to my ordinary dirt surveyor world. I agree with Dave and NomeSurveyor: it's just not interesting anymore, and if I have to pay, PoB will have to go away.

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