Advertiser Questions DWM’s Integrity
We all know the Golden Rule “Do unto others …” Does this childhood adage apply in the world of business? To our industry?
In nearly 20 years of business, Edgetech I.G. has maintained a high standard for customer service from providing high quality products to all of the value-added extras in our 360 value promise.
In addition, we believe that the way we communicate with our customers is always professional. We provide 3rd party supporting facts and do not make baseless claims about our competitors or their product’s performance.
Unfortunately, not all companies live by the same code of ethics. Recently, an ad campaign blatantly attacking our product was launched by one of our competitors. And, yes, DWM is running the ads. This has caused us to question the responsibility of magazines in situations where one company intentionally misleads an industry by attacking another company or its products through its chosen advertising in a very public forum.
Should magazines be blamed or held accountable for providing a public forum for baseless claims? Most in the magazine business would say: “…we just sell white space” and “…we do not read ads for content.” While we may all sympathize with and understand this logic, we also understand the business of maintaining decorum and professionalism in how we conduct business.
I did not write this letter to criticize the ad, but more importantly, to ask DWM’s readership to challenge our industry to do better—to create and submit ads that educate and augment the positive impact our companies and our products have on the marketplace and our customers’ marketplaces.
We hope that you realize your responsibility as a major forum for the industry and that you not condone a company’s attempt to sell their products by publicly and fraudulently attacking specific competitive products.
In the meantime, we will keep our eye on what matters most to us—our customers. We will continue to professionally maintain our partnerships by communicating the facts—all of which point to our product as still being the best
performing spacer system on the market.
Michael B. Hovan
Edgetech I.G. Inc.
Thank you for your polite and thought-provoking letter. It gave us a good reason to stop and answer the philosophical questions you pose, something that we should probably do more often than we do.
Our main goal is to offer our readers access to all kinds of information they need and want—both factual and promotional. Editorial content includes feature articles, news, departments and columns. Promotional content includes advertising. We have a robust Code of Ethics in place that is followed and reviewed with all staff members every year.
DWM works hard to make sure that all its editorial content is factual, accurate and without bias for or against any person or issue. We have strong safeguards in place through our policies and procedures to make sure this is the case. And when a (hopefully rare) mistake occurs, we correct it quickly.
We also allow promotional announcements in the form of advertising content. Though we do keep our editorial and advertising departments separate for obvious reasons, we will not knowingly publish advertising that is obscene or in bad taste. We will also not knowingly publish information in an ad that is false or deceptive.
We face a number of challenges in evaluating such advertising. First, defining what is in poor taste or obscene has always been a subjective matter. And, while it is very easy to define what is false, because something is either or true or it isn’t, it is much harder to determine what is deceptive. In some cases, one man’s deception is another man’s spin. And what do we do in cases when the content of an advertisement is factually correct but still considered to be misleading by a competitor? Add to this tight deadlines and the fact that we may not be alerted to a problem ad until after it is printed and you see the challenge of timing as well. And, just as the line between what is “promotional” and what is “inaccurate” is not clear-cut, neither is the line between proper oversight and censorship.
I mention this so that you see some of the dilemmas we face in such an evaluation. Our Code of Ethics clearly states that we will not knowingly publish any advertisement that is misleading, deceptive or false. Your letter has become the impetus for putting a procedure in place for evaluating such claims in the future and we greatly appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention.
Debra Levy, President
Key Communications Inc.
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