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Ziff Davis may have to reclassify some ‘PC Magazine’ subscriptions

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New York—Ziff Davis Media acknowledged in a statement that the Audit Bureau of Circulations may require the company to reclassify some subscriptions to PC Magazine from “paid” to “analyzed non-paid direct request.”

Ziff Davis said, however, that it may appeal the decision.

The controversy centers on Synapse Group’s freebizmag.com Web site, which offered free PC Magazine subscriptions, to be paid by a sponsor, to site visitors who completed a survey. Because Synapse didn’t bill the sponsor promptly, the subscriptions weren’t paid for within seven months, which runs afoul of ABC rules for classifying subscriptions as paid.

At its board meeting held July 7-10, the Audit Bureau rejected a request by Ziff Davis for an exception to that rule. The Audit Bureau also announced Monday that it has censured Synapse “for improper record keeping.”

In recent months, both Hollinger International’s Chicago Sun-Times and Tribune Co.’s Hoy and Newsday have been dealing with circulation scandals, and each was also censured by the Audit Bureau on Monday.

—Sean Callahan

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