BD+C does not "charge" for editorial coverage

October 01, 2012 |
Rob Cassidy

Recently, I put out a notice to PR/Marketing firms, SMPS members, and others who represent AEC firms offering the opportunity to submit editorial content suggestions for our November "Greenbuild Special Report." Within a week, I got six phone calls asking me what BD+C "charges" to participate.

The answer: nothing. Zero. Zilch. We DO NOT CHARGE for AEC firms to participate in the editorial content of the magazine or online. Nor do we accept everything that is submitted to us. We use our editorial judgment and common sense to determine the value of suggested ideas, articles, project submissions, images, etc.

Apparently, there's a big scam going on in the U.S. business press, and it seems to be particularly virulent in publications and online "services" related to design and construction: We'll publish a "favorable" story about your firm or your project, if you just give us a list of all your product suppliers and subcontractors. Then the telemarketers go to work hounding the target firm's suppliers: "Don't you want to congratulate them? Just take out an ad." Meanwhile, the "target" firm gets nasty phone calls from its suppliers and contractors asking what's going on here.

This is NOT the way we do business at BD+C or at our parent company, SGC Horizon LLC. You can't buy editorial coverage in our publications. I repeat: We do not charge AEC firms for editorial coverage in BD+C. We do charge for advertising, of course, but it is always clearly distinguished as such and kept separate from editorial content.

With your help, I would like to take this matter up with the American Business Media Editorial Advisory Committee, of which I happen to be a member. PR reps, marketing people, AEC principals and owners: Please send me any emails or written solicitations of the kind described above, or notes of any phone solicitations from these telemarketers, and I will take the matter to the ABM committee for referral to ABM's Editorial Ethics Subcommittee.

I've been a journalist, editor, and writer for more than 40 years, and this kind of thing really ticks me off. It demeans the profession and hurts legitimate publications that are trying to serve their readers with high-quality content.

Rob Cassidy | Building Team Blog

Rob Cassidy (“ClimateGrouch”) is editorial director of Building Design+Construction. A city planner, he is the author of several books, including “Livable Cities,” and was a co-founder of the Friends of the Chicago River.

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