Ever read the New York Times book review and notice a little dagger symbol next to some titles on the ‘best seller’ list? That means bulk orders have been recorded. Perhaps some of that bulk is used as doorstops, or given away at seminars and written off as a tax loss by a corporation. The tricks of marketing are usually so convoluted that we peasants glaze over trying to follow the trail.
This latest is different, even I can follow this scheme that worked brilliantly until it was found out…
One of Rupert Murdoch’s most senior European executives has resigned following Guardian inquiries about a circulation scam at News Corporation’s flagship newspaper, the Wall Street Journal.
The Guardian found evidence that the Journal had been channeling money through European companies in order to secretly buy thousands of copies of its own paper at a knock-down rate, misleading readers and advertisers about the Journal’s true circulation.
The bizarre scheme included a formal, written contract in which the Journal persuaded one company to co-operate by agreeing to publish articles that promoted its activities, a move which led some staff to accuse the paper’s management of violating journalistic ethics and jeopardising its treasured reputation for editorial quality.
Internal emails and documents suggest the scam was promoted by Andrew Langhoff, the European managing director of the Journal’s parent company, Dow Jones and Co, which was bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in July 2007. Langhoff resigned on Tuesday.
The Guardian goes on to outline a deal that sounds like the European edition became a kind of ad sheet for a corporation that then bought copies of the WSJ for pennies and distributed them for free. This didn’t bring in money, but boosted circulation figures. A whistle-blower was told to hush up, before being ‘made redundant’ [British for ‘canned’].
It’s probably for the best that WordPress doesn’t count my own visits to Kmareka, or our stats would be much higher. But that would be cheating, wouldn’t it?