The renewal season

SAN FRANCISCO (10/03/2003) - Chances are this copy of InfoWorld arrived with a special external "coverwrap" reminding the recipient to renew his or her subscription. Since the renewal process is something of an annoyance -- both for subscribers and for us -- this seems like a good time to explain why it's necessary.

Each week, InfoWorld sends copies of the magazine to 220,000 people who have qualified for a subscription. Those subscribers are a select group. Based on those who have responded to our new title question, nearly three-quarters identify themselves as IT or technology professionals; another one-quarter as business or corporate managers. All report direct involvement with their companies' strategic technology initiatives -- for example, integrating technology with corporate goals, defining architectures, or developing integration strategies.

They work in an impressive variety of sectors, including manufacturing, financial services, pharmaceuticals, insurance, retail, defense, technology, government, military, and education.

They have impressive purchasing authority, too. Nearly 92 percent indicate that they buy, specify, recommend, or approve the purchase of computer hardware. Some 89 percent report similar purchase authority over technology services; 88 percent over networking gear and services; 85 percent over Internet, intranet, and extranet equipment or services; 80 percent over storage hardware or software; 77 percent over security hardware or software; and so forth.

How do we know all this? The answer, as you can guess, is from the annual qualification survey that subscribers are asked to complete -- either by using the form on the first page of this week's coverwrap or by going to renew.infoworld.com on the Web.

The renewal form is unavoidable for three reasons. The post office mandates it in order for InfoWorld to avoid the higher mailing charges imposed on catalogs and other publications that the recipient did not request. Business of Performing Audits International -- the industry group that audits our circulation data (and the source for the percentages listed above, which are from the June 2003 publishers' statement) -- requires it in order to show that InfoWorld reaches the audience we claim it does. And the information on the form helps us bring in advertisers whose products are directly relevant to our subscribers -- who underwrite most of the cost of publication.

The good news is that once the renewal form is completed, you're good until June 2004 when the renewal cycle begins again -- and you shouldn't be bothered with any further reminders. (If you are, please feel free to drop me a personal note at the address below.)

So if you enjoy receiving InfoWorld or appreciate the hard work that goes into writing, editing, and designing it, please take the time to complete this annual chore and save our circulation folks the duty of additional reminders. And if your copy arrived this week without that special coverwrap, then consider yourself free: You must already have completed the form, and we thank you!

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