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Triana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-01-07 11:15 PM
Original message
Linux Journal Taken to Task For Disgusting Sexist Ad
Remember, I previously posted about this disgusting ad Linux Journal had in their magazine - NOT only back in 2000, but again recently AFTER they said they wouldn't run it again. Here's my previous post about their 'blowjob' ad:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=229&topic_id=7761&mesg_id=7761

Well, Linux author / guru Carla Schroder takes the clueless magazine to task - after trying repeatedly to contact them directly about the ad - to allow them SOME sort of response (they typically NEVER did respond to NUMEROUS complaints about the ad from women AND even some male readers in the industry):

http://lxer.com/module/newswire/view/93521/index.html

Linux Journal: How Not To Run A Business
Posted by tuxchick on Oct 1, 2007 9:29 PM
LXer Linux News; By Carla Schroder


LXer Feature: 01-Oct-2007

I have to wonder- where on Earth did Ms. Fairchild get the idea that alienating her customers is a good business practice? So what if she finds sexist, demeaning humor funny? It doesn't belong in Linux Journal. I paid my subscription money in good faith for many years, trusting to receive good Linux articles. If I want to read about blowjobs or read about how helpless and stupid women are, I don't expect to find it in Linux Journal. There are abundant sources for that elsewhere.

Here we are at the sad, sorry end of our Linux Journal saga, with an unhappy conclusion. (Please see the links at the end for the previous articles in this series.)

Here is a synopsis of our story so far:

* The August 2007 Linux Journal ran a full-page blowjob ad that understandably upset a number of people
* A number of folks, including me, wrote to the publisher and senior editors of Linux Journal to let them know we were not amused, and requested a public apology. Because not only was this particular ad incredibly offensive and ill-advised, Linux Journal has a long history of portraying women in insulting, offensive ways, both in ads and editorial content. Enough is enough
* We were met with absolute silence. LJ has a long history of ignoring readers who complain about these things, so it wasn't all that surprising
* So more of us wrote to the publisher and staff, saying that the courtesy of a response would be nice, and we still wanted an apology
* Still nothing
* So then a number of people, including me, criticized LJ in our blogs
* When I was researching for my blog entries, I learned that LJ had run this ad before, in November 2000, which also resulted in a storm of ticked-off readers. The vendor promised never to run that ad again. Way to break a promise. Even then the powers-that-be at LJ had nothing to say about it. And obviously learned nothing from it, as it's pretty much the same staff now as then
* Finally, a bunch of us got together to compose a group letter and added all of our signatures to it. Over thirty people signed. Plus a number of them had also contacted LJ staff individually. This went nowhere.

So I had this bright idea to contact the members of the Linux Journal Advisory Board and ask for their help in getting a response. A few of them had the courtesy to reply, but it was clear they did not want to get involved. What do they advise on? Obviously not the right way to do customer relations, but how to cover your ears and go "la la la."
Apologizing For The Abusive Spouse
Doc Searls made a few private apologies here and there, just like back in 2000, talk about deja v, but it was never clear if he was speaking for the magazine, or just making excuses like an abused spouse ("Officer, $spouse didn't mean it! It's just been all this stress lately!")
I'm Not Offended, So You Shouldn't Be Either
I received a lot of private communications both from a number of people associated in various ways with Linux Journal, and from my own loyal network of spies.

What I hear from my spy network is that the publisher and senior editors think the ad is screamingly funny; they don't get why readers are upset; they don't care that readers are upset; and they're just going to sit back and let it blow over. Carlie Fairchild, the publisher and owner since December 2006, has been involved with Linux Journal since 1995. So it's safe to say the buck stops with her. I have to wonder- where on Earth did Ms. Fairchild get the idea that alienating her customers is a good business practice? So what if she finds sexist, demeaning humor funny? It doesn't belong in Linux Journal. I paid my subscription money in good faith for many years, trusting to receive good Linux articles. If I want to read about blowjobs or read about how helpless and stupid women are, I don't expect to find it in Linux Journal. There are abundant sources for that elsewhere.

I am somewhat amused by the many "I'm not offended, so you shouldn't be either" comments in the discussions about this. This is a weird and stupid thing to say. What do your feelings have to do with me? That's approaching an unhealthy level of narcissism.

...MORE at link.

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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-02-07 12:10 AM
Response to Original message
1. Why is there no criticism of the company that paid for the ad.
Edited on Tue Oct-02-07 12:39 AM by AdHocSolver
I followed some of the links in which there were criticisms of the magazine. I finally found a page with a picture of the ad.

I remember browsing the Linux Journal at a local bookstore's magazine rack and seeing the ad. My first reaction was what a tasteless ad. My second reaction was why anyone would want to do business with a company that paid for such a tasteless ad. My third reaction was why anyone would trust a company with their valuable data that would risk antagonizing many of their potential customers.

I think merely criticizing the magazine for running the ad is missing half the equation. In these times, when just about anyone will do anything for a buck, critics are omitting criticism of the ad agency that came up with the ad and the company that paid for the ad. My dismay was more with the company, since a business person might label any company that sells Linux products as questionable as this company that ran the ad.

I have had experience as a developer and user on many different computer systems over the years including Windows, IBM mainframes, Univac, Data General, DEC VAXen, several little known systems, and UNIX. UNIX/Linux beats them all hands down for usability, stability, reliability, versatility, scalability, portability, and value. Any negativity engendered by this ad does a disservice to the Linux community, and all three entities involved with this ad, the magazine, the company sponsoring the ad, and the ad agency, if any, should be criticized.

Just my two cents.
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Triana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-02-07 12:13 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. That avenue was tried too, as I remember. I was on the email list...
...and wrote some of the letters to LJ as well as to the company who placed the ad.

No response from either.
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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-02-07 01:00 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Triana, what about bringing up this negative ad on a Linux forum or to the attention of the ...
open source community. I doubt that many of these people read the DU blog. However, as I pointed out in the addition to my original post, I find this ad embarrassing to the community, and if more people are made aware of its potential negative impact on the community, maybe you can build some traction out there.

I don't know what the circulation numbers of Linux Journal is out there, but I suspect that it is limited, compared to the Linux and open source community's overall numbers. Also, many readers of this magazine may have paid little attention to the ad, and never gave a thought to its overall negative message beyond its sexist connotation. At a time when we want the Linux community, and customer base, to grow, this ad projects an image of childishness rather than sophistication or cleverness.

Has any other magazine ever run this ad?

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Triana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-02-07 09:03 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. That's where I got the info and became part of the resistance...
...was from the open source community/Linux forums! That's where it came from. Bukus of people complained to both the company and LJ. No response from either.
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