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Letter to the Editor
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From: RDS@pcdirect.co.nz (Rowan Schaaf PCDNZ)
To: editor@aardvark.co.nz
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 1997 14:40:30 +1200
Subject: PC Magazine article

Far from keeping our heads down, hoping this would all blow over as was recently suggested in your publication, PC Direct has attempted to respond to the criticisms brought to bear in PC Magazine's recent article by responding in PC Magazine's own public forum.

Keith Newman, editor or PC Magazine invited us to submit a right of reply for publication in the May issue of their magazine. A letter was duly drafted and forwarded to PC Magazine within five working hours of the initial invitation. To our dismay, we have been informed today that PC Magazine do not intend to publish this letter in the May issue as promised, denying us the opportunity to refute the thinly veiled accusations of nepotism alluded to in Ms Bland's article.

For the record, please find attached, a copy of the letter forwarded to PC Magazine for publication.

17th April 1997

The Editor
PC Magazine

Dear Sir

The article in last month's PC Magazine about PC Direct contained a number of factual errors, was misleading and one sided. We would like to correct some of the issues that were reported and present the "other side" of the story.

PC Magazine reported that Best Buy was successful in gaining an injunction against PC Direct. This is false.

Best Buy was not granted an injunction against PC Direct. In addition to this, PC Direct has taken legal action against Best Buy for alleged misleading and deceptive advertising with particular reference to trademark infringement. We are seeking damages of $250,000, all of which was ignored by PC Magazine. In the light of the fact that this was widely reported throughout New Zealand it would appear as if this omission was deliberate.

PC World, PC Magazine publishers in battle of wordsPC World, PC Magazine publishers in battle of wordsPC Magazine reported that PC Direct fails to supply review systems to the magazine.

PC Direct has supplied review systems to PC Magazine on a number of occasions. PC Magazine requires an eight-week lead-time between reviewing a system and the review being published. This represents several difficulties for PC Direct (and no doubt other organisations) all of which have been communicated to PC Magazine.

Our greatest concern surrounds the market relevance of systems being reviewed. In two months the computer industry can experience significant changes in technology, specifications and pricing. On several occasions we have felt it would be pointless for readers to read a review of a system that would have undergone major specification or price changes by the time the magazine was published. Recently, a review system requested by PC Magazine had to be denied as new features and pricing were imminent and the long lead-time required did not allow us to submit our new product offering.

Bias exists between PC World and PC Direct.

As your reporter was clearly aware, the statement that "PC World are looking after us" was made in reference to advertising. This formed part of a wider discussion on the 8-year relationship with PC World and the potential cross over in readers PC Direct could experience if advertising in both magazines. This comment was not made in reference to systems under review by PC World. The reporter was deceptive and misleading by deliberately taking this comment out of context and insinuating that favourable product reviews were the result of a biased relationship.

A PC Magazine reviewer advised PC Direct that positive comments regarding a PC Direct system were deleted when the review article went through the editorial process. This does not place the integrity of PC Magazine in a favourable light and would seem to indicate some form of "positive censorship" against PC Direct. This is of serious concern to PC Direct and taints the formation of any strong partnership between our organisations.

In summary, PC Direct has and does supply review systems to PC Magazine, and would do so on a more regular basis if the time between submitting a system and the review being published could be shortened. We feel that this would give PC Magazine readers more accurate and up to date information.

The article published by PC Magazine had some serious factual errors and painted a very one-sided picture. PC Direct hopes that PC Magazine can take our feedback on board so that PC Direct can take part in more system reviews in the future.

Yours sincerely

Sharon Hunter
Executive Officer

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