Report: #718076

Complaint Review: VegNews Magazine

  • Submitted: Fri, April 15, 2011
  • Updated: Fri, April 15, 2011
  • Reported By: Private Citizen — California USA
  • VegNews Magazine
    3505 20th Street
    San Francisco, California
    United States of America

VegNews Magazine Lies to Readers, Plays Favorites With Advertisers San Francisco, California

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Just two days ago, vegan blogger Quarrygirl (who has won awards for exposing restaurants that lie about ingredients) broke the news that VegNews, the most popular magazine for vegetarians/vegans in existence, was publishing pictures of non-vegan food alongside vegan recipes. VegNews has been confronted with hard proof, will not apologize to readers, and has denied the facts. The entire appalling story can be read here

I am a former co-owner of a vegan business and know firsthand that VegNews' bad behavior isn't limited to Photoshop tricks and comment deletion. For years, I was a VegNews advertiser, and they treated my business partner and I like garbage. Were it not for the magazine's popularity, I would have pulled advertising the first time they disrespected me, but in such a small community with a limited number of publications, it's not like I had much of a choice. 

Once VegNews realized I wasn't going to upgrade to a larger/more prominent (read: VERY EXPENSIVE) ad space, I suddenly didn't register on their radar. The person who handled our advertising account was really nice, but the editorial staff were a bunch of arrogant snobs.

Read some back issues of VegNews and you'll eventually notice certain VN writers dropping the names of certain veg*n businesses in pieces that aren't necessarily relevant to the business - they're ALWAYS bigger advertisers. Rewarding the biggest accounts with editorial brown-nosing may not be completely illegal, but it is definitely unethical, and those businesses don't need the coverage. Struggling ones do. VegNews is aware of this and does not care.

I noticed some blatant factual errors in a fashion-centric issue, and wrote to VegNews explaining that such-and-such products aren't vegan/were made in sweatshops/are made by a corporation that profits from the fur trade/etc. I asked them to retract this information, since they were presenting unethical and/or non-vegan products as suitable for vegans. They ignored my letter, and declined my subsequent offer to write future fashion articles (I know more about fashion than their entire staff ever will), even though I was far more qualified than the hacks who hadn't even bothered to fact-check their work (I'd previously been published in now-defunct Herbivore Magazine). They later encouraged buying shoes from Payless, and ignored my letter explaining that Payless pirates designs, uses sweatshops (one of which was so abusive the Chinese government actually bothered to shut it down), was transitioning to all-leather uppers, and does not make shoes that are healthy for consumers or safe for the environment. 

One VegNews editorial advised readers to have a "buy nothing" Christmas. How, exactly, do they expect vegan businesses (i.e. their advertisers!) to stay open with no support? And how do they expect vegan-friendly businesses to stay vegan-friendly if no one is buying vegan products? We spent extra money on advertising in the annual holiday gift guides, hoping for higher sales, but their "stop buying" editorial nearly killed us that year. They should have advised readers to support ethical businesses instead, but disregarded our suggestion that they do so and refused to print a retraction. 

VegNews ruined a big announcement after I specifically asked them to tell no one. Theypromised to drop in when they came to town for a special event, but didn't - more than once - even though they habitually came to the vegan restaurant next door every time they were in town for the occasion. Last year was the worst. They came to our city and made a big fuss over visiting "every" vegan business in the area - EXCEPT MINE - and didn't respond when I asked them why I'd been snubbed. (Distance was not the issue - we were in the dead center of the simplest possible route to all the other places, and they were well aware that we'd moved. It was a deliberate snub.)

Oh, and here's the nastiest part: VegNews promised us increased sales from a specific online/print ad package, but we NEVER saw an increase in sales from it, and we're pretty sure they falsified the click-through numbers they claimed we were receiving, since our online sales records indicated NO click-throughs from VegNews or VegWeb. We spent roughly $20,000 on advertising with VegNews and NEVER made it back in sales, despite their promises to us. 

I'll be surprised if the Photoshopped-meat scandal doesn't ruin them, but if it doesn't, DO NOT advertise with this magazine. They lied to me and to their readers, and they will lie to you too.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/15/2011 02:13 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/vegnews-magazine/san-francisco-california-94110/vegnews-magazine-lies-to-readers-plays-favorites-with-advertisers-san-francisco-califor-718076. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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