POB Magazine Moves To New Pay-To-Play Model

POB Magazine Moves To New Pay-To-Play Model

Traditional Formats

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.

Paid Access to Content

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.

How Will This Affect You?

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

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Dave Lindell
9 months ago

It was the first surveying magazine as far as I can remember, but I wouldn’t pay for what it puts out today.

9 months ago

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… Read more »

Norman Oklahoma
9 months ago

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.  

Rick Taylor
9 months ago

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.

holy cow
9 months ago

Do not currently receive any of them.  I get most everything I could ever hope to learn right here.

9 months ago

I’ve only read a handful of copies of xyht but yeah I suspect there aren’t enough surveyors interested in paying a subscription to employ the staff necessary to put out a quality, relevant magazine.  Maybe going completely digital is the way to go.

A. Sellman
9 months ago

I receive xyHt and The American Surveyor, and used to get Point of Blundering a while back. Been a LONG time since I read anything in POB, but I did like the various survey scenarios presented by others. The comics were not too bad, either.

Nate The Surveyor
9 months ago

The content is too progressive for me.Lidar. Scanning. All aimed at a different kind of business.Not so relevant any more.N

9 months ago

Print is dead; we all know that, and if we don’t, we should.How do I view the content, I used too?…RPLS.COM; Linkedin: Facebook; Instragram. These are the venues that currently bring us the articles we want to read. What’s next,that’s the true question.Am I ready to pay for this? Probably not, not yet. I see websites giving it away; and paying the viral poster, money, just because it’s viral…What does that tell you?

Nate The Surveyor
9 months ago

I’m getting regular emails from redit. Usually the 1st item enclosed is survey related. But, it’s another “venue” of sorts, I guess. Any body else getting redit emails in their inbox?N

9 months ago

I probably agree with most comments.  We don’t do scanning, we don’t do drones.  And, there is more content relative to our business right her on beerleg.  I have Clients who count windshields for their business.  I would like to think that those companies who spend the big bucks in print advertising would rethink where they should put their money.and for Radu and others who go back to the old pob board, the information herein and between users is more important than…than infomercials.

True Corner
9 months ago

I don’t read much of POB anymore because the content isn’t there.  It used to be in the 1980’s.  I used to read through every issue, but no more; there’s simply nothing to read.  This is as about as good as it gets.

Edward Reading
9 months ago

Unfortunately, for the last 5 years or so, the have all been garbage. The “articles” are just ads for scanners and drones. A paywall will be the death of them. they aren’t producing anything worth paying for. It is really a shame  because POB and Professional Surveyor were once great magazines.

Just A. Surveyor
9 months ago

I had my 15 seconds of fame in American Surveyor once but I have not read any of the 3 magazines for years for all the reasons described by all the others.

9 months ago

When I first discovered the rich mathematics embedded in surveying (roughly 20 years ago), coming across a copy of POB was like finding gold. I tried to subscribe, but got a little card in the mail that said that I didn’t qualify. Professional Surveyor and American Surveyor, however, accepted me and I got two little gold nuggets in the mail every month. Later on, after I had published something, POB told me that I was OK after all and invited me to subscribe. I suspect that I was not really OK and that POB just needed more readers, but I… Read more »

9 months ago

OH NO! Wherever will I be able to peruse the latest and greatest, super-cheesy Javad Ashjaee advertisement! The horror, the horror…… 😉  

9 months ago

The AOLS has transitioned to digital and it is freely available to all: https://www.aols.org/news/ops-magazines I have found it to be just about as good (if not better) than the big 3.  Though, it has an Ontario focus which is far more relevant to me personally.  Is there a thread here that lists all the free provincial/state licensing body magazines?  I would imagine those would be of the most use to people as they would have first hand applications to statutes, etc.

One cup o joe
9 months ago

I still get POB and American Surveyor and xyHt. I do read all articles written by the staff writers as they are usually very informative. Kind of like getting a good conference speaker in written form. Will I pay for a subscription, probably not.I am old and cannot speak to what might appeal to the younger Surveyors. They are the ones that will must decide what is valuable to move themselves forward.

9 months ago

I receive all three of them. We do Scanning, drones, mobile lidar, topo, boundary work – the whole 9-yards. I enjoy XyHT and AS the most. POB 99% of the time goes straight to the recycle bin. I like all of Gavin’s article in XyHT and Jerry Penry’s articles in AS. Also like the new “Unsung Heros” Articles in AS.The most important things to take notice here are that lack of all three magazines running articles of what “Surveyors” really want to read about. I think the paradox in our profession is sometimes humorous though. Our conferences and periodicals all… Read more »

9 months ago

I have to tiptoe around the specifics of the post, but would like to note that there are trade publications and professional association publications.I think that the state and provincial association/society publications and newsletters do the best job of providing direct and locally relevant surveying content. This is by nature, understandable, and I enjoy –  immensely – reading them (and have been on an NSPS judging panel for their state publication awards). The articles in state pubs by local/regional surveyors are the most relevant on many levels. And thank heavens there are still folks who will take the time to… Read more »

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