According to a Feb. 2 posting
on BPA Worldwide’s company blog, the bureau is considering whether it
will allow publishers to report non-request electronic circulation in
BPA’s current rules prohibit the inclusion of non-request
electronic circulation anywhere on a BPA statement, but may amend it
because “with low circulation and production/distribution costs, the
use of non-request electronic circulation is becoming a very attractive
option to this increasingly critical [economic] situation,” BPA
president and CEO Glenn Hansen wrote.
BPA has requested feedback from publishers on
whether it should allow for the reporting of non-request electronic
circulation as non-qualified in paragraph 9, additional data, or
allow the reporting of qualified electronic circulation for all
qualified source channels.
The bureau concedes that non-request electronic
circ could “boost circulation levels unnaturally,” and is considering limiting the amount of non-request electronic
circulation to 5 to 15 percent of the total qualified, allowing only those
e-mails that can be proven to have been delivered, requiring a prominent
opt-out and specific content in the e-mail’s subject line, or
establishing a requirement that those who do opt out are not counted at
So far, publishers’ responses have varied.
“I encourage BPA to have parity of rules with ABC, as they allow
reporting of digital of all sources,” Sylvia Sierra, SVP corporate
audience development, Access Intelligence, wrote in response. “On our
digital-only products, advertisers are tagging their ads with DART code
and they will be able to measure the results of their ads on a
meaningful way, including number of impressions to be delivered.
Providing advertisers with measurement of their advertising is more
significant than any paragraph 3b sourcing.”
Hansen said there are still
good reasons to remain cautious. “There are fiscal tests of
reasonableness which prevent a publisher from taking a 25,000
circulation trade magazine to 125,000 circ by simply printing and
posting 100,000 more copies to names found in business directories,” he
wrote. “This is not an economically feasible (or sustainable) venture.
Yet for electronic copies, the pain point in cost to the publisher is
far lower. Should advertisers pay for spam?”
Eric Rutter, VP, audience marketing, Reed Business Information,
wrote that he saw Hansen’s point regarding digital’s low cost and, in
turn, low barrier to entry, but doesn’t think that it should be the
“driver.” “Bottom line: If it’s fully disclosed, the reader can make
his/her own decision as to quality,” Rutter wrote.