Clearing up the confusion

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For those of you, including myself, who remember Jackie Gleason, my favorite line of his was “How sweet it is.”

So it is with the several companies whose products were recently ranked a “Best Buy” by Consumers Digest magazine.

But like anything else, miscommunication can often lead to confusion. And I believe that is what happened here.

Recently, Soundings Trade Only received several press releases from companies, touting
their “best buy” rankings in Consumers Digest. Good stories, I thought. And I got
to deliver some positive news.

After the second story ran I received an e-mail from someone in the industry telling
me that companies pay for those rankings.

That raised a red flag for me. So several e-mails and conversations later, I learned what was going on. 

The companies who ranked a ‘Best Buy’ did not pay for that ranking. 

According to the editor of Consumers Digest, the editorial team looks at several factors when ranking the marine products. If they are ranking a boat they look at its construction, its performance, features and price, among other criteria.

Once Consumers Digest publishes its rankings, the magazine’s marketing gurus get in touch with the respective companies, telling them of a licensing opportunity, which allows them to use Consumers Digest’s Best Buy Seal for one year in their advertising and/or promotional materials. If the companies agree to that offer, then they pay $35,000 to Consumers Digest. This price includes Internet use. If the companies do not want to use the Internet, that price drops to $25,000.

Companies, however, can write a press release touting its ranking from Consumers Digest and that does not cost the company one dime.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

- Lois Caliri
Editor

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