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     Collectible Magazine Online Price Guide NEWSLETTER - April 2006 page 2
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Publisher's Note -info on general site redesign, new pages, new titles to be added and titles to be updated.

Playboy in internet limbo - No respect for an American institution?

USPS Priority Box not well promoted

Lower prices, lower minimums on sleeves

The Hot List - top selling magazines on eBay

Playboy in Internet Limbo

Recently, I was invited to participate in the Google Payments Beta Program.

This was something I'd been awaiting for quite some time - about 4 years - but after fiddling around with their acceptance procedures, completing them and then attempting to put an item up for sale on Google Base, I realized that my wait for an alternative to PayPal would continue.

I've been awaiting a payment alternative since PayPal adopted the moronic eBay policies concerning Playboy magazine back issues. Those policies, in a nutshell - but not actually identified in PayPal's policies - are that Playboy magazines fall into two categories, separated by the years 1979 and 1980.

In essence, all Playboy magazines prior to 1980 can be listed and sold on the regular eBay site. Those issues published after 1979 (1980 to the present) must be listed in the "Mature Audiences" section of the site, where PayPal is banned and most of the items are explicit pornography.

It's been and still is my contention that Playboy is a far, far cry from being pornography, but that hasn't changed any of the narrow minds at eBay or PayPal. And what's worse, it seems the puritanical thinking has even invaded the Googleplex, because when I tried to list a Playboy magazine on Google Base, it was rejected due to inclusion of the word "Playboy."

In other words, Google, purportedly an "enlightened" company, has imposed the most onerous of restrictions, essentially eviscerating the entire Playboy brand from the offerings on Google Base. To make matters worse, I also found that you could not use the word "discreet" in your listing, nor the words excite, explicit, handgun, and probably a slew of other words, though you can slip the word "nightie" into your offering.

This evinced memories of George Orwell's classic "1984" in which the goal of the architects of the new language, NEWSPEAK, was to eliminate words that those in power considered unnecessary. Google is definitely heading along that path.

So, with Google shutting off another potential avenue for sales of one of the world's most widely circulated and the most collected magazine on the planet, Playboy and its many fans is once again relegated to second class citizenry. Shame, shame, you Playboy readers. Don't you know that you'll go blind? Google, eBay and Yahoo intend to save us, I suppose.

Yahoo has long-standing policies similar to Google's, though only by listing your Playboy magazine in the correct category (Magazines) will cause the auction to be rejected. You can list your magazines elsewhere on Yahoo Auctions, just not in the right category, though they will still be available through search.

The most liberal polices concerning "adults" on the internet can be found at Amazon, which has allowed not only Playboy, but all sorts of lewd and outwardly pornographic material on their site since its inception. Oddly enough, you won't have any problem listing there, but you also won't have many sales. This is good if you're a buyer, though.

All in all, it's somewhat funny, if not downright hilarious. For example, one can list Playboy magazines on Yahoo with a Buy Now price and they will be indexed by Froogle, Google's online comparison shopping site, which is relatively popular, as opposed to Google Base, which is still in beta and about which barely nobody knows.

Of course, you can do all that but one would still not be able to accept PayPal or Google Payments.

It's a tough world for Playboy, still stuck in internet limbo.

USPS Priority Box not well promoted

Searching the other day for a complete year of a popular monthly, I realized how few sellers were using or even aware of the existence of the latest invention by the US Postal Service: the Priority Mail Flat Rate Box.

The new flat rate boxes, which come in two sizes (11" X 8.5" X 5.5" and 11.875" X 3.375" X 13.625"), have been available from the USPS since fall of last year, and is a great alternative to shipping via the mule-train slow Bound Printed Matter (cheaper but slower) or inappropriate Media Mail (also cheaper, but magazines are not allowed according to USPS regulations).

At $8.10 anywhere in the U. S., the flat rate box is ideal for lots of magazines. The two different sizes are appropriate for standard or oversized magazines and while they are a little more expensive than Bound Printed Matter, depending on a package's origination and destination, may be less than $2, but the time for delivery may vary by as much as 4-8 days.

Judging by the response I received from sellers, some who planned to charge as much as $12 Media Mail shipping for a package that could easily fit into a Priority Mail Flat Rate Box, the USPS has done an exceedingly poor job promoting what may be one of their best products.

The flat rate shipping price also compares very well with either FedEx Ground or UPS Ground for anything over 5 pounds and also eliminates a lot of unnecessary paperwork.

Hopefully, more sellers and shippers will learn about the flat rate boxes and the advantages of Priority Mail, which, in addition to being faster, are that Priority packages almost never get lost or stolen, have high visibility, and best of all, are provided free by the USPS.

The boxes are quite sturdy and can be obtained from usps.com or at just about any USPS post office location.

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