FREE

The world's favourite word may also cre­ate is­sues for so­ci­ety.

Golf Digest (Malaysia) - - Editor’s Letter - PA­TRICK HO Editor pa­trick@bluinc.com.my

Af­ter 10 glo­ri­ous years, the cur­tains have in­evitably come down for this pub­li­ca­tion.

Be­ing with the magazine for nearly 10 years, the Blu Inc Me­dia Sdn. Bhd. team and I have truly en­joyed ev­ery mo­ment of pro­duc­ing the big­gest golf magazine in the world to Malaysian golfers.

This fi­nal is­sue marks the end of a glo­ri­ous run, not be­cause we want to, but the cur­rent poor eco­nomic cli­mate has forced us to make a com­mer­cial de­ci­sion.

Fur­ther­more, con­sumers have em­braced the dig­i­tal me­dia rev­o­lu­tion. So­cial me­dia is the new rage, with con­sumers ab­sorb­ing news, fake or oth­er­wise, on their dig­i­tal de­vices.

I would like to thank all our loyal sub­scribers and ad­ver­tis­ers for be­liev­ing in us for all these won­der­ful years.

While the wrath of the poor economy is forc­ing many mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers to close in Malaysia, bad habits in the golf busi­ness are also part of the cause.

Since I joined the golf busi­ness in the year 2000, noth­ing much has changed in the way busi­ness is con­ducted by some in the in­dus­try.

Most, if not all, have al­ways asked for free pub­lic­ity from the me­dia. Even when pub­li­ca­tions ac­com­mo­dated with dis­counted ad­ver­tis­ing rates, there will be some throw of a self­ish dice to gain more F.O.C. editorial write-ups.

Yes, the word 'free' is not used openly, but many of the in­dus­try lead­ers have ar­tic­u­lated their own spe­cial ways to “ac­quire” free pub­lic­ity.

Arm-twisit­ing had be­come an art­form.

“Busi­ness is very bad,” is a com­mon state­ment given by re­tail­ers and dis­trib­u­tors yearly.

But a few months later, a mir­a­cle brings them bless­ings in the form of a brand new Porsche Cayenne or Lexus SUV ve­hi­cle.

Many years ago, I fore­warned a dear friend from a big re­tail com­pany, “If you guys con­tinue to force the mag­a­zines to give mas­sive dis­counts on ad­ver­tis­ing rates and cut in­ser­tion or­ders, more pub­li­ca­tions are go­ing to close down and you guys will not have any­more cred­i­ble plat­forms to tell your brand sto­ries.”

No one lis­tened. Selfishly, they just wanted their 'free' pub­lic­ity.

It was a pre­ferred S.O.P. and a new form of KPI.

This habit was cul­ti­vated by pub­li­ca­tions that were forced to sell their souls to achieve their ad­ver­tise­ment quo­tas. Some of these pub­li­ca­tions soon col­lapsed and have long ceased op­er­a­tions.

The sui­ci­dal “buy-one­free-one” ad­ver­tis­ing pack­age prac­tice was born many years ago just to beat the com­pe­ti­tion.

And, this is not just con­fined to golf pub­li­ca­tions.

Apart from the 'free pub­lic­ity' habit, there was a Sin­ga­porean GM of a re­tail com­pany that al­ways asked for mar­ket­ing and event man­age­ment con­cept ideas with­out pay­ing a sin­gle sen.

Ob­vi­ously, his brands did not sell well.

Pro­fes­sional golf events too suf­fer from this de­sire or habit of get­ting things for free.

Ev­ery year, most of us in the golf busi­ness will get tele­phone calls one or two weeks be­fore a big pro­fes­sional event.

We are of­ten asked by the mi­nor­ity, “brother, do you have hos­pi­tal­ity suite passes for the tour­na­ment?”

It seems, pay­ing to watch some of the world's best golfers play in Malaysia is a car­di­nal sin.

While I leave you with this food for thought, my hum­ble wish is for golfers to con­tinue play­ing and en­joy­ing the hal­lowed game, and to pass the magic on to new golfers.

Learn and ob­serve the eti­quette of the game. Keep en­cour­ag­ing fam­ily and friends to play the game.

Af­ter all, it is the great­est game ever played.

Farewell for now and I will see you all on the golf course soon.

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