about the universe forum commander Shop Now Commanders Circle
Product List FAQs home Links Contact Us

Friday, January 25, 2008


We just got the last issue of Comics & Games Retailer, a trade journal for stores. That is they say, the last print issue. They are changing to a web zine to cut costs.

When we started this company back in January 1999, we were told to ask to get on the free mailing list for C&GB since it would make it easier for us to keep up on the industry. It's divided into sections (Games, Comics, Anime, etc.) and full of articles about how a retail store can survive and take advantage of the ever changing market. The magazine was originally quite big. Advertising, full page color ads by medium to small game companies, paid for those huge issues and high profile names writing columns, but about a year ago, the game companies (other than the few super-big ones) stopped buying advertising. (They finally figured out what we figured out years ago: advertising to retailers doesn't produce orders from wholesalers). That is why Games Quarterly Magazine died, and why C&GR got smaller and smaller and finally is eliminating the expensive paper and postage and going to the web.

The web is where the modern wargamer and roleplayer are found. The web is where they are reached with news of exciting new products. Retailers order what their customers ask for, not what the glitzy full-page full-color ads tell them (and beg them to believe) is going to be hot.

I have a notoriously bad attitude about marketing. I just don't see it doing as much good as the budgets should be doing. Marketing people are all about ad buys, exposure, impressions, but never ever about sales, about dollars coming in the door, about new customers buying the product. I get calls all the time from people in and out of the industry selling advertising, and they talk about how many impressions I'm getting but never want to talk about how many sales I will get. I see people on the industry sales list saying "we got no money from our last ad" and being told by ad salesmen "You have to spend money on advertising even if you cannot track any returns, keep spending and someday you will see a return, keep spending because people see your ads and will buy later" and I wonder just what is going on. If you have to spend $100 in advertising for every $60 game you sell, should you be in this business at all?

I wonder about spam. The theory is that you wouldn't be getting spam if the companies sending it were not getting at least some customers. I guess if a spammer make $100 per customer and sends 50 million Emails he doesn't need that many people to buy his stuff to break even. But some of the spam I see makes me cry, it is so badly written (apparently by people who do not speak English). I have begun to seriously wonder if companies buying 50-million spam barrages are really getting their money back in sales, or if they are just being scammed by advertising salesmen who tell them that they need to spend on advertising until they get a return, no matter how much money it takes.