This yarn about PC World allegedly engaged in circulation inflating activity caught my eye today.
The suit, filed in federal court in Brooklyn on behalf of Boston-based software company Teletype Co. Inc., claims PC World and a top magazine official, Shawne Burke Pecar, conspired with defunct Valley Stream distributor Inflight Newspapers & Magazines and an industry auditing organization - the Audit Bureau of Circulations - to inflate the magazine's paid circulation to charge higher advertising rates.
The article doesn't state that PC World is owned by IDG Communications, my former employer. The company didn't make any comment about the suit, but it seems to me this accusation is very much out of character with the IDG culture that I know. It's essentially a family company, with CEO Pat McGovern owning up to 60 per cent. He's the kind of guy who personally delivers thousands of North American employees their annual Christmas bonus, and remembers their names. At the same time, he's got an incredible memory for figures and keeps a very, very close eye on the business. So it all just seems a bit odd to me.
But on the other side, you have this interesting dynamic where the US PC magazine market is now dominated by just two magazines, PC World and PC Magazine. In contrast, here in Australia, we've still got way to many: PC World, PC User, Australian Personal Computer, Atomic, PC Magazine, and there's probably others I've forgotten. Anyway, the point is when there are just two publications the competition is intense. Who knows if that was a factor.