Georgia reader Joseph Horton asks a great question about Golf Digest's February issue.
Why is the 2008 Hot List posted on the web site before subscribers get their issue? I participate in several golf forums and this has become a hot topic in itself. It would only seem right that subscribers that actually paid money would have the benefit of having your 2008 Hot List issue a few days in advance? I'm not against the information being on the web site at all, only that subscribers should receive some benefit from their loyalty in subsribing...
Actually, some subscribers did receive their issues before the Hot List went up on the web--a few. But for the most part, you're correct. The web story is published first. Here's why we do it this way: We feel it's important to alert manufacturers to their inclusion on the Hot List before their sales teams or customers see it in the magazine and contact them with questions. We send a few "first-bound" (uncorrected printer copies) early in the printing process. Once we do that, word gets out quickly. It's impossible to time this so that subscribers receive the issue, say, the next day. Postal delivery is not that precise. Some readers may receive the issue on the third of the month, some on the 12th. So we put the main part of the package--but not all of it--on the web, simultaneous to those early alerts.
We hope this process works for subscribers who get the basic information about the Hot List via the web early and then can find more Hot List information in the issue.
Finally, this helps us show off an issue we're extremely proud of, and perhaps generate a few more subscriptions.