Home » Uncategorized » Open letter to publishers of FoxTalk 2.0

I have heard from a lot of Fox Developers concerning my January 10th post: Subscribe to Fox Periodicals. I listened to people complain how the could not afford the peroidicals. I listened to others say they expected employers to pick up the tab. I listened to those who said the Internet resources were better. I listened to others applaud and cheer because they want the magazines supported so they stay in business.

A lot has changed in the last eight months. A lot.

Two major things have happened. First of all Eli Research bought out Pinnacle Publishing, owners of FoxTalk. They turned around and brought in their own editor, and some how convinced Andy Kramek, Marcia Akins, and Doug Hennig to stop writing for them (some 190+ articles between the three of them). Then they started the “fake invoice” barrage of snail mail and emails.

Advisor on the other hand has improved their content by recognizing the importance of the authors discarded by Eli.

I have talked to the editors of both publications. I am encouraged by the changes the folks at Advisor are making. I am not encouraged by the folks running FoxTalk. They don’t seem to understand how they are impacting their customer base.

Today I got the latest email from Eli. I decided to respond since it came from Jannie Wilsen, Customer Retention Manager. I figure at this point this is the most important person at Eli, with respect to the future of FoxTalk. So I sent her the following email:


Price increases for FoxTalk 2.0? I’m shocked! You have only sent me more than a dozen “fake” paper invoices telling me this and I am sure more than a dozen emails. I know already. I renewed my subscription months ago and will give you more of my hard earned money when you prove to me you are going to continue publishing this magazine. It surely needs help.

As to the statement: “We are sure you are finding your monthly issues informative and valuable.”

Well, not exactly. There was hardly any FoxPro content in the last issue. A long product review of WebConnect, an interview with the product developer Rick Strahl, a SQL Server article probably republished with a couple of “FoxPros” dropped in for good measure, and a horrible attempt at faking the Kit Box column Barbara and Paul, then Paul and Andy, and finally Andy and Marcia did naturally for so many years. Art and Gertie? Seriously?

The entire issue is practically written by Jonathan. This is not the hard-core FoxPro magazine I have loved over the last 15 years. This is watered-down FoxTalk.

The core of Andy and Marcia and Doug Hennig are long gone. You guys let the cornerstone of the magazine go to the competition. A huge win for Advisor Media. These authors probably have more articles in FoxTalk than the next 20 authors have combined. Sad. The quality has been high for years under Glenn, Lisa, Whil, David, and Rainer as the editors, but has slipped considerably since Rainer was dismissed. I understand the reasons the authors left. What I don’t understand is why you guys are not working to get new authors to write. Maybe it is the format of three columns, and the hard to use template that makes it hard to write and read a technical journal. It might be fine for end user magazines, but not for publications printing code examples.

I feel cheated. I blogged back in January how important it was for Fox developers to subscribe to both FoxTalk 2.0 and the Guide to Microsoft Visual FoxPro (see the March issue of FoxTalk for the details when Rainer used my blog entry in his editorial). My advice was good back in January when I first blogged it, but today I know it is bad advice.

You guys are getting hammered in the Fox Community because of the incessant invoicing/renewals you are sending out. I mean this: your marketing is backfiring badly. If you want people to be loyal, don’t keep reminding them you are going to charge them more for less.

Rick Schummer

4 Responses to “Open letter to publishers of FoxTalk 2.0”

  1. Anonymous
    September 11th, 2006 at 21:57 | #1

    I called them the other day asking what’s the deal with the letters about the September issue being online. The guy responded that they were just trying to inform their readers that the issues were available online. I cannot imagine that anybody subscribes to Foxtalk and doesn’t download the PDF issues and source code. Very odd letters are faxed to me once a week and I still get more by mail! Warning – don’t give them your fax number!

    Tim Saylor

  2. Anonymous
    September 12th, 2006 at 11:30 | #2


    I agree with you 100%. I made the mistake of renewing for a year and am now stuck with a crappy publication that disappoints me even time I receive a new issue. And those stupid invoices … don’t get me started.

    I’m going to ask refund.

    Malcolm Greene

  3. Anonymous
    September 12th, 2006 at 12:40 | #3

    Wish I would have seen this sooner. I just renewed FoxTalk for a year and the only reason for doing so was the in depth stuff that appeared in Foxtalk. I’ve used it not only with VFP, but with other languages as well.

    On the other hand, I did not renew my subscription to Smart Access or Inside Access because I always see the same type of article, done by the same authors (one enitre issue was “author” – 4 articles from the same person, who is obviously not a developer!).

    I’m also in the process of dropping several others because they are getting so watered down (Visual Studio mag comes to mind).

    The folks at Eli really need to wake up. And I’ve absolutly had it with their mail barrage. I’m guessing twenty or so within the last week or two. What a waste.

    Jim Dettman

  4. September 12th, 2006 at 13:39 | #4


    If I was you I would voice my concerns. I know the people at Eli are listening {g}. I have had more conversions and feedback from Jonathan (the editor of FT). I am hoping to blog more later.


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