This morning I am furious. 

I have worked in consumer magazines (Cosmopolitan, Eve, Now, New Woman, Vogue Australia, Saga) for twenty years and I was nearly conned this morning by a publication pretending to be a magazine but that actually just produce a glossy publication full of paid for advertising and no editorial. I didn't realise that publications such as this existed.

In a nutshell I was sent a tweet yesterday to my @LovelysVintage account from Inside Magazine's account (I had never heard of them before) telling me what great stuff I had. I then said thank you and asked if I would be appearing in the magazine. This is because I have had amazing support from both genuine magazines and bloggers who approach me saying they love the website and would like to write about it. They then asked me to DM them my number. I was very busy and never got around to DM'ing my number. This morning they found my number online and rang me on my mobile...

I presumed that they were wanting to contact me about an interview/feature about Lovely's Vintage Emporium. Here are the tweets below. They can't spell either...

HERE ARE THE TWEETS BETWEEN THEM AND ME

you hagve some amazing stuff!!! xx @LovelysVintage

@Insight_Tweet Thank you very much! Will I be appearing in your magazine? Ha!

@LovelysVintage id love to chat you about our next publication dm me ur number xx

So, this morning they called me on my mobile and a very charming woman then proceeded to tell me in great detail how much she loved my website and she even told me exactly which items she wanted to buy. The purple maxi dress, the orange Chanel handbag etc. She said how much she loved vintage etc. I totally believed that I was talking to a journalist from a magazine who had genuinely found my website and loved it. She then asked me in great detail how I came up with the concept, how the launch had been etc. I thought I was being interviewed. This took up over 15 minutes of my time. 

BUT THEN SHE SAID: 'We are planning to put you in the next issue and devote a third of a page all about your website and using images from your website. Normally it would cost £375 but because we approached you (they did on Twitter remember and by ringing my mobile number that I hadn't given them) it will only be £180.'

I was flabbergasted and explained very politely to her that I thought she was a journalist ringing to interview me and that I didn't know she was an advertising sales person. I told her that as I am a sole trader and have only had my website for a year that I cannot afford to advertise and that I rely on word of mouth and my good products. She sounded shocked and suddenly wasn't the same matey/friendly/I love your website type person any more. She said: 'But don't you want people to know about your website'. 

THE BEST PART - She said: 'BUT EVERYTHING IN THIS MAGAZINE IS PAID FOR'

Now this is the bit I have issue with. In my view as a very experienced magazine journalist (see www.lynnettepeck.com) how can you call yourself a magazine when actually you are just a publication full of paid for advertising. The readers are being conned, the small business owners she approaches on Twitter to tell them she loves their stuff are being conned and I nearly was...

Insight Magazine (totally wrong name for them as they are not a magazine) are based in Birmingham. Their website http://www.insight-magazine.co.uk says in their ABOUT US section: all the words in capitals are my own comments.

Providing the people of the West Midlands with a fresh and absorbing read, Insight Magazine is a vibrant full colour glossy publication that is innovative for readers (HOW IS IT INNOVATIVE FOR READERS WHEN NONE OF IT IS GENUINE EDITORIAL?) and a great medium for advertisers to reach out to a wider audience.

Covering an a wide spectrum of topics, with features that include detailed editorial content (IF IT IS PAID FOR THEN IN MY VIEW IT IS NOT EDITORIAL), top recommendations, reviews and competitions, Insight work with only the very best companies and recognised names (NOT TRUE, THEY APPROACH EVERY SMALL FASHION BUSINESS ON TWITTER THAT THEY CAN FIND). Therefore, we bring our readers the very latest news and events direct, not only through our fortnightly publication, but also via our Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as attending relevant events, making it easier for readers and companies to keep their finger on the pulse.

Insight is distributed throughout Birmingham and the West Midlands within leading supermarkets, including Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, as well as going out to local venues, shopping establishments, boutiques, popular restaurants, eateries, leisure centres and more, whilst you will also find Insight on sale in selected WHSmith branches across the region from January! (DO READERS KNOW THAT EVERYTHING IS PAID FOR? IF THEY DID WHY WOULD THEY READ IT. WHO READS ADVERTS?)

HERE IS HOW THEY SELL THEMSELVES ON TWITTER


Insight Magazine
@Insight_TweetFOLLOWS YOU
Insight is a glossy lifestyles magazine that is always on the lookout for fresh fashion ideas and companies who are set to take the industry by storm!
Birmingham · http://www.insight-magazine.co.uk

HERE ARE  SOME OF THEIR MANY TWEETS TO EVERYONE ELSE - you can see that it is all false flattery

very classy pieces @JunoSaysHello

i adore ur jewellery!! x @BowbelleJewels

LOVE LOVE LOVE @RockCandyLondon some great bits! xx

absolutely beautiful pieces, WOW!!!! xx @VHeaddresses

Love the bits you do, bin trying to find a contact number for you!! x@Forsakenvintage

Lovely New Dresses!!!! @NoLoGo_chic

Love ur bracelets @icedrainbow xx

@love_n_sparkle How long have you been doin it?? would love to chat to you have you got a number?? xx

bin noseying at everything you do and i thinks its FAB!!!! xx @scavengerannie

well cute bags @randybagz xx


Thank you for reading this and I feel better for blogging about it. So be warned. If you are tweeted by @Insight_Tweet and they say they love your website/business/products it isn't true. What they really would love is if you forked out £180 for one third of a column in a publication distributed in Birmingham.

I will also be reporting them to Trading Standards. I have no idea if what they are doing is legal? Could be for all I know but I for one will not be spending money for them to write about my website. Outrageous. You have been warned. I guess it is one of the many perils and obstacles in this journey I embarked upon a year ago when I set up my own business http://www.lovelysvintageemporium.com

Hope you are all having a great day. Please do comment on this blog your views on this? I would love to know.

Love Lovely x

Here is an update to this blog: I have been alerted to another blog from 2010 about Insight Magazine scamming people. Here is the link - http://agraham.org/blog/2010/10/18/are-insight-magazine-running-a-scam/comment-page-1/#comment-32330