Archive for September, 2011

Why I’m not buying Wired today

After months of waiting, the first issue of the German Wired goes to store shelves this morning. Wired has long been a staple publication of the tech and web sector, and I often enjoy buying the US or UK edition of the magazine before long train rides or flights. Wired is a solid tech magazine – specialized enough to keep it interesting, broad enough in topics to have a wide audience. Wired is fun.

Unfortunately, Wired has decided to alienate their female (and many male) readers by bundling their first issue in Germany with GQ Magazine (“Gentlemen’s Quarterly”). There are plenty of women who enjoy reading men’s magazines (and the other way around), but the decision to bundle Wired with a magazine geared specifically towards the male demographic sends a very clear message to women: “You are not our target market, and are not a part of the discussion.”

This is an unfortunate decision, and rather insulting. I understand that Wired DE is being test run and I can understand why Condé Nast would perhaps prefer to bundle the first, slimmer issue with one of their existing publications. Unfortunately, Condé Nast only produce fashion and lifestyle magazines in Germany (Vogue, Glamour, Architectural Digest, GQ), so someone on their marketing staff decided that bundling Wired with GQ would hit the target market more accurately in relation to any of the other Condé Nast publications. This is a bottom-line business decision and makes financial sense in a Condé Nast “ecosystem” (read: market segment).

In the real world, where hundreds of titles grace the shelves, the female Wired reader (and many a male reader) is going to ask herself why she has to purchase a men’s fashion magazine in order to get her Wired fix, in her own language. This sends a strong message about the market Wired is now catering to in Germany, and equally, that which it is not catering to – the rest of us.

A progressive, influential magazine such as Wired (well, maybe not as influential as it was 5 years ago) which is (mostly) serious about representing the broad spectrum of people in technology needs to cut the bullshit and play it’s own part. I don’t know what happened behind closed doors at Condé Nast and I wish to think that the new staff of Wired DE fought the decision to bundle the first issue with GQ fiercely, in order to uphold the image and standard Wired has built for itself throughout the last 18 years. If they did, they lost.

I will not be buying the first issue of the German Wired today. Nor will I buy it in the future, if it continues to be bundled with GQ magazine. I will also not support the digital edition of the magazine until the print edition is released as a stand-alone. I am not even remotely alone.

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