Dave Rock: VP Circulation, ZIFF DAVIS
Rock’s challenge of a long uncontested ABC board seat fails, but exposes industry-wide frustration at circulation rules and representation.
David Rock contested a seat on the Audit Bureau of Circulations last fall, the first time in 14 years on the board that Peter Armour, senior vice president of consumer marketing at Advance Magazine Group, had been challenged. Rock didn’t win, but his action sent shockwaves through the circulation world, exposing frustration over recent circulation scandals and an ABC board of directors that was allegedly complacent and deaf to day-to-day challenges circulators face.
"Too often publishers feel like they can’t pick up the phone and call their representative;and really, that’s what they’re there for," said Rock last September, three months before the December vote.
Rock decided to run for the seat after ABC changed the rules pertaining to sponsored circulation in July 2005;a rule change that itself made this year’s Folio: 40. The rule change put some publishers in scramble mode and in a position of potentially missing their ratebases after having already submitted their statements.
"The ABC sponsor ruling was frustrating for many publishers," Rock says. "Not because it was a bad rule;but because the timing of the rule wasn’t reasonable. The board ultimately reversed its own rule;which was the right thing to do."
Today, Rock can say his efforts were not wasted. "The headline at the end of the day wasn’t whether I won or lost the election, but rather how we all won as an industry because the election gave all of us an opportunity to have open, frank discussions on the state of our ABC/publisher situation and the direction we collectively need to take."
One result was the formation of a member committee within ABC called the Associate Member Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives from subscription agencies to hash out issues and recommend changes.
VITAL STATS: His renegade challenge to the status quo sent shockwaves through the circulation world.