Home > NewsRelease > #188 - WaPo/Times Schemes
#188 - WaPo/Times Schemes
Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, May 17, 2023





 #188 Blog Post    -   Wednesday, 17 May 2023


Posted by Denny Hatch


The Circulation Jackasses of The

WashingtonPost and The New York Times


Oneday last month — in the fifth year of reading The Washington Post (a.k.a. WaPo) on my iPad veryearly every morning — this huge ad you see above covered the daily landing pageand cut me off from the news and commentary I paid for. The message: “Resubscribeand get unlimited access blah… blah… blah…”


Resubscribe?I am a paid subscriber. I never received a notice saying it was time to renewfor another year. I clicked all over the place trying to get my news. No dice. TheWashington Post would not allow me to access the day’s news and commentary.


Resubscribe?I didn’t dare. If I signed up, I would have two subscriptions. Look at the strangelast three lines:


Alreadya subscriber?

Signinto a different account or



“Already a subscriber?" I am.


“Signinto a different account or Restore subscription.”


Huh?What different account? I only have one account with these people.


Okay,I said to myself. I guess my subscription had lapsed and I plumb missed therenewal series.


Thefollowing two days I tried to read The Washington Post and discovered it was “GroundhogDay.” No access.


Asfounder and editor of WHO’S MAILING WHAT! Peggy and I were deep into therenewal business. This was our life’s blood. Without renewals we wouldn’t havea business.


Did I let my subscription lapse?

Last week I searched online for the WaPo circulation department. Ifound a “Contact” link and roused an instant chat person. My question: “When ismy subscription up for renewal?” The return answer on 11 May 2023:


Let me assist you, Denny.

Our records indicate that you are currently signed up for anAll-Access subscription associated with your email address dennyhatch@yahoo.com

Your account is set to renew on 09/08/2023 at the standard rate of$120.00 for 52 weeks.

(Bold red type in the message above is my doing for emphasis.)


Aftera week of no access to news, I gave up and deleted the WaPo App icon. I get major WashingtonPost stories on Apple News plus I get the daily e-edition of The New YorkTimes.


Why didn’t I Immediately Call 

Or e-mail WaPo Circ People?

I’m88 years old. Time on this planet gets more and more precious the longer Ilive. Frankly I did not want to get into a pissing match with atwenty-something smarty-pants (or mini-skirted) untutored circ clerk. Isubscribe to Apple News, and I have been a subscriber to The New York Times forover 60 years. I’m also a regular viewer of CNN and MSNBC. Plus, I get Axios,Bo Sacks, Mr. Magazine and other news and newsletters. In short, I don’t needWaPo to be in touch with the world.


Here's The Washington Post’s Offer Sheet



Ihave never seen anything like this in my life.


1.   Lookat upper left above. WaPo was trying to get me to resubscribe and sell me “All-AccessDigital” for $11.99/month.



2.   “Letme assist you, Denny.

Our records indicatethat you are currently signed up for an All-Access subscriptionassociated with your email address”


—WaPo Chat person toDenny Hatch



WaPo’sBizarre “Premium Digital” offer:


Try 1 month free

(then $16.99 a month)

andpay through the nose forever after. No description of the products. Another $60 a year. Nobenefits. No reviews of the e-books or testimonials from happy users. Not oneiota of warmth or fun. Here are the products. Here are the prices. Buy ‘em, Bub.


Holy Moly! The New York Times Pulled a Copycat Stunt Using the Very Same Words as WaPo!



Didthe Times and WaPo Use the Same Copywriter?


 WaPo: All-Access Digital

                Come Back and Getthe Full Experience


 NYT:  TheNew York Times | All Access

          Upgradeand Enjoy the  

          Complete Times Experience.


Note:Unlike WaPo — who completely cut me off — I am still allowed to read the Times.Oh Thank you, thank you, A.G. Sulzberger. How long will this last?

Thetwo identical messages infuriated me. These up-selling offers were classicstupidity on the part of the two newspapers' circ departments that had no cluehow to talk to customers.


Lookat it this way. Both papers originally persuaded me to buy their digitalcontents. I paid their bills and assumed I was getting "All-Access" to the news andfeatures.




TheTimes held back goodies — e.g., recipes and puzzles. They gypped me — conned meinto thinking I had bought the contents, when, it turns out, they kept me fromseeing everything. If I order these extras and pay for them… only then willI have the “Complete Times Experience.”


Recipes?Peggy is a marvelous cook. Pay extra for games and puzzles? Nah.


BTW, digital subscribers are the most profitable customers.

Thinkof it: no cost of paper, no ink, no printing, no folding, no delivery, no deadtrees. I paid $100 a year for the e-WaPo. The raw cost-of-goods was oh, maybe, anickel a year for teensy spritzes of electricity. 


Takeaways to Consider

•“The most important order you get from a customer is the second order.” —Maxwell Sackheim (founder of Book-of-the-Month).


•The second order means the buyer liked your product or service and came backfor more. Multi-buyers are what all businesses strive for. In the case of apublication, the second order is the renewal.


• BTW, if you rent your lists be sure to add a premium/M for multi-buyers.


•“Direct marketing should be scrupulously honest.”

 —Dick Benson, legendary consultant andmarketer


•“Dealing with a customer is like making love to a widow. You can’t overdo it.”

    Franklin Watts (My secondemployer in 1962)


•“God protect me from amateurs!”

   —Henry Castor (another early boss)




Word count: 1001


6" x 9"  292pp
Paperback:     $29.95
ebook/Kindle: $19.95



Barnes & Noble



At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press.He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletterand archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 yearshe has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.


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