Friday, November 21, 2008

Save Domino.

**UPDATE: I posted this briefly this morning, but then saw conflicting news about Domino's health. One report insists subscriptions are up. So take this with a grain of salt and let me know if you have reliable information.**

The magazine death list is growing. And while I can be a critic of Domino, I am still delighted when it arrives every month (late, mind you.... like on a slow-ass donkey sent here from Mexico or something...).

Nevertheless, I really do not want it to go under, and I think there is some risk of that. Blueprint, O at Home, Cottage Living, and House and Garden we alive a year ago and today they are all dead.

If you want to save Domino, you should skip whatever trinket or bottle of wine you were going to give all the ladies at the office/school/etc and give a subscription. Give many.

Make it easy on yourself and order here:


Anonymous said...

Cottage Living had a circulation of about 1,000,000, so their demise didn't have as much to do with subscribers as it had to do with advertisers not spending as much on print and investing elsewhere, like the Internet.

My advise would be to buy from the advertisers in the magazine and then make sure they know that you bought from them because of their Domino ad.

That's the real ticket to any magazine's success... continued ad sales.

Anonymous said...

On top of gift subscriptions, we all need to go online and click some ads. Believe me. ROI will keep the advertisers coming back for more.

Anonymous said...

i think domino is great, but wouldn't it be wonderful if all the people who run out and buy subscriptions instead put their money toward local shops that are closing left and right? instead of saving domino, save your local businesses, kids.

Anonymous said...

I did my part. I already have a subscription, so I visited the site and clicked on the Horchow ad. I clicked through to a traveling slipper. Super cute and I need them. $200, but whatever. They had me at stylish airplane slippers. They lost me at "kid-leather". Like little, baby goats? Sorry, I just can't.

Anonymous said...

Don't love it that much anymore. Not getting a subscription unless Marian and Rita are gone.

Decorno said...

Anon 5:41. Agreed. I just bought all my holiday wine from a tiny local wine shop. That should help. I always also spend about $250 at Christmas at Watson Kennedy here in Seattle for all kinds of small gifts and whatnots to give during Christmas.

Just saying that with House and Garden gone, if Domino leaves us, what will we have other than Elle Decor? Architectural Digest? God save us all.

But you're definitely onto something. Save your local haunts and keep being a good patron as much as possible. That is solid advice in times like these.

Anonymous said...

Domino Schlomino,
Sometimes I like them, and then, other times I think they have gotten way too heady and have that "too cool for school" attitude. Those fashion features in the last issue were really lame - they need to stick to interiors and treat people better, too. A lot of people who spend time/money sending in things at their request get cut with nary a thank you or any word. Rude. Maybe if they start treating people they request content from better, that will produce good karma nad save their hides from heading to the shelter mag graveyard.....what goes around, comes around...

Decorno said...

Good point.

Which reminds me... Did Nick Olsen get a thank you in their book? I keep looking for his name, but can't find it...

Anonymous said...

Nick's name is in the back, on the acknowledgments page.

This won't be popular, but: the hair-and-makeup advertising is probably helping keep the magazine profitable, or as near to profitable as it presently is. It's a necessary evil. You'll need to put up with it, at least for now. I agree the "beauty" parts of the magazine are among the weakest, but Deborah Needleman keeps them as minimal and as painless as she can.

(I too wouldn't mind seeing the permanent disappearance of Marian and Rita, but all magazines have weak spots. "O" has Suze Orman, mistress of the obvious; "Vanity Fair" has Dominick Dunne, the Larry King of the true crime genre.)

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:59 is right: ad sales are the ticket.

But magazines also need a strong subscriber base to sell the advertising. Subscriptions don't bring in money in any substantive amount, but the existence and numbers of subscribers convince advertisers to buy space in the magazine, so both parts of the equation are necessary.

Decorno said...

I don't mind hair and makeup advertising at all. I don't like it when there is too much hair and makeup editorial, but ads I can totally live with.

I am glad Nick got love in the book. That was a great cover and it's nice to see such a young designer get some love. Plus, who among us had such a chic place at the tender age of 24? Didn't he have a bar as a nightstand in that feature? Maybe I am just imagining it.

It's a good idea, come to think of it.

Anonymous said...

I got an email last week from Deborah Needleman (or an underling using an email account with her name on it) offering super cheap subscriptions to send as gifts. So I wouldn't be surprised if Decorno is right about them going under.

Domino is probably still my favorite shelter mag (though WoI is currently competing for my affection and Elle Decor used to be in the same league), even if there are some things about it I don't like.

They are absolutely incapable of making sure my subscription arrives every month, never mind how late it is when it does come. Out of the past 6 issues, I think I received 2 or 3 of them - and every time I don't receive one I call customer service to find out where the heck it is. That's 3 or 4 calls to customer service in the past half year. It's such a pain in the ass keeping track of whether or not I've received the current issue that I'm thinking about ditching the subscription.

'Yes' to some of the other complaints mentioned above: the too cool for school attitude and Rita Konig (*no* idea whatsover why they hired her in the first place, let alone keep her on.) But I absolutely adore Nick - so funny, so real and such great ideas. I always check in online to read his blog posts.

the sweet life with olives said...

i'm still mourning the loss of house&garden... now with cottage living, it's like opening an old wound and pouring salt. i'm not crazy about domino, but it's the best of what's left... i can't imagine what i'll do if left with only elle decor and AD, I really can't stand/can't relate to either. maybe blogs will take their place? or perhaps we'll all have to develop other interests? knitting, gardening, staring at the ceiling for hours on end? or maybe a black market of old editions?

decoratrix said...

$10 is a bargain. I'm going to buy subs for all my friends. Cheaper than a bottle of wine.
I agree about supporting local stores but magazines like Domino do their bit for small businesses by featuring them.
Nick Olsen is delightful. What don't you like about Marian and Rita?

Nick's Crazed Maryland Disciple said...

Oh, Nick's place was the best thing Domino ever ran. Easily.

Anonymous said...

What is ROI?

Anonymous said...

I got a Domino subscription a few months ago, $10 for TWO years. Guess they were trying to get their subscriptions up.

mappingkat said...

ROI is return on investment. In online ad sales, if advertisers don't get the click throughs they expect, it's difficult to justify running another campaign. The days of "having a presence" are long gone unfortunately.

It's a vicious cycle. You need the subscribers to justify the ad buy. The advertisers want a return, which they may or may not get. And the readers really want something other than Marian. I can live with Rita, but Marian doesn't do much for me.

Anyway, I hope hope hope they make it. Although it has flaws for sure, it is still the best shelter mag out there.

Anonymous said...

Nick is really funny and the only reason I ever check in on Daily Dose.He doesn't seem so in love with himself like some of the others. The guest bloggers are an improvement, esp. Courtney Barnes. Rita has style, but seems like she is too preoccupied with the rest of her life to check in with a half-hearted post every now and then - I don't really think she's indispensable. I can understand the fact that they need ads and that's not offensive, it's just the late delivery of subscriptions and their general cockiness that turns me off.

Anonymous said...

Advertisers now are insisting on "multi-platform" (wince) exposure, which means getting their advertising on both the web and in print. So in a sense, there's double the chance of a campaign failing.

That is, if a company has an advertising budget at all right now.

So if you want to ensure a magazine's success, you need to click AND subscribe. And buy. And have the demographics advertisers like.

Anonymous said...

Rita at least goes out and does real reporting, and brings back real information (though it kills me that she asks readers where in a city she should go, and that she has an assistant [!]). But Marian--do we really need another etiquette columnist? Doesn't that imply Domino thinks its readers are childish or unsophisticated rubes?

I'd be more appreciative if Marian wrote columns like "How to act like you're sober at a dinner party when you've had five glasses of wine and everyone else has only had one."

Decorno said...

Um. THAT is exactly the how-to column I would need, actually.

I really like Cynthia Kling. She's the one they would put on that story.

Anonymous said...

Okay, this is the ONLY thing approaching "evidence" that Domino is having trouble. It's from the Observer article you linked to:

“Domino is having a horrible time,” said one Condé Nast insider. “If you look in their current issue, it’s not even all about shelter. It’s very intense with how much fashion editorial there is.”

Well, this is poor-quality industry scuttlebutt, coming from an "insider." The way to tell if a magazine is in danger is to look at the advertising, not the editorial.

And the editorial in the current issue is not "very intense" with fashion. You can count the number of pages devoted to fashion and compare that figure to the fashion content of the mag two years ago, and you will not see a big difference. The "insider" is demonstrably, quantifiably wrong.

I think it's just a Conde-Nasty with an axe to grind against Domino. Probably some Anna Wintour minion who couldn't get a job at Domino is still bitter about it.

Anonymous said...

Decs, I suspect Marian is uniquely qualified to address such a quandry.

Anonymous said...

it's not subscribers -it's the advertisers. unfortunately, loyal readers can't really save their favorite magazines.

Anonymous said...

As a subscriber to Domino, and no one would be happier to see it go under than I. I am still sore that the brilliant Dominique Browning and Mayer Rus are unemployed while Ms. Needleman and her talentless minions (save the always entertaining Nick Olsen) are putting out a piece of crap with almost no point of view whatsoever. And why has no one added to the list of annoying/superfluous Domino writers, Jennifer Rubell?
I'd much rather read this blog (that's you, Ms. Decorno). You are as peculiar as can be, and your political views are insufferable, but you do manage to entertain and inform more than all the Dominos combined.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:04:

Website advertising has made that less true, since reader exposure to ads can now be measured (view per page).

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry anon 10:32 Rita does not do the real reporting. She comes into a city and asks beforehand via blogland (and I suspect other publications) where to go. She shows up at a shop she has read some press about and asks them to show her around! Subsequently, we end up reading about the same old same old shops in the city that have been written about over and over again. Nothing new or original! I understand that she might need a hand when investigating a new city but, come on. I really think it's lame that she doesn't just do the "investigative" research on the streets. Surely, she could figure it out for herself!

Decs said...

Ano 8:26, that's the nicest backhanded compliment ever. Thank you. I am glad that it's my politics that is insufferable and not just me (although I am sure there is a noisy crowd who would agree that BOTH are...)


Anonymous said...

To pile on to Anon 8:31pm, Rita's "research" is so bad that even in her of hometown London, she is unable to offer a single original shop or restaurant suggestion. Really? Petersham Nurseries is a nice place to lunch in Richmond? Who would've thunk? Thanks for that hot tip!

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:31 PM,

I hear you, and agree there's a lazy quality to what Rita Konig does.

But at least with advance "scouting," Rita gets in/gets out of a city fast, and that ends up costing Domino less in expenses than if she wandered around for days, hoping to stumble upon a decent shop. The efficiency of her method saves money that can in part be passed down to subscribers ($10/year) and can also help, we hope, keep Domino from going under anytime soon (lower operating costs).

As far as her covering stores that "have been written about over and over again": Maybe those stores have had only local exposure, and what Rita and Domino bring is exposure on a national level.

But I agree, it is a little sleazy, asking readers to provide you with sources and content.

And I agree she needs to give up any pretense of being a blogger. Her twice-a-month entries usually read like "Well, I have just discovered ice cream! Have you all heard of it? It is delicious! Cold, though!"

Anonymous said...

I agree that Domino needs to keep it short and sweet when coming into a new area. Turning to the readers would seem like a very affective strategy when coming to an area for the first time. But if anyone read her post when she was looking for places to go to in Seattle, the only places she went to that hadn't been written about (and these shops have already had national exposure) was in Ballard. Granted, Ballard has some exciting things happening and rightly deserves a little of the lime light. But, I am tired of reading about Watson Kennedy, Great Jones, Velocity, Maison Luxe and Red Ticking. I know they are there because Elle Decor, Better Homes, Country Living, Lucky and plenty of other publications have already done that been there story. Tell me about what's new for crying out loud. Bring something to the table that might indicate she actually didn't reference another editors story about an area. Yah, going into a city with a two day schedule for scouting is difficult, but if you really want to show your worth your salt to the reader, how about bringing something new to the table that shows you really tried to be on the cutting edge of the newest shopping. Isn't that what she is being paid to do?

Anonymous said...

If I were traveling to Seattle, I'd appreciate Rita's list.

Sure, it might include stores other magazines have listed, but as a new visitor to that city, I'd say: So what? All I want are good shops. I don't care if they've been published before in Elle Decor or wherever.

I think your complaint is that you live in the city Rita is writing about, so you know already know about the Greatest Hits.

But I don't think Rita's articles are meant for primarily for the locals. If so, they wouldn't be published in a magazine with national circulation.

So no, I don't think what you're asking for is what Rita is being paid to do. I think your grievance is with the local press, not with Domino.

Decorno said...

Yeah, I have to agree. I am confused why it seems lazy for Rita to ask the locals where she should shop around on her visit. I'd be asking the natives, too, if I were writing a local shopping guide.

Anonymous said...

It's sort of hard to explain, but there's an ethic among journalists that the reporting process has to include discovery. We like a reporter to come across something--a situation unfolding, a person worth profiling, a store that needs describing--via legwork and curiosity and just poking around. It seems more...reporter-y than what Rita does.

Being handed a pre-approved list of places to go describe, the way Rita operates, has the look of cheating, or taking an unfair shortcut. It doesn't seem like she's using any skills.

The issue of whether she should be covering a city's already-well-documented "Greatest Hits," or the stores "on the cutting edge of the newest shopping," is somewhat related. I think the criticism is: The "cutting edge" places are probably not be on the greatest-hits lists Rita tends to follow. If she showed some natural curiosity and looked around on her own, the critics say, she might come across some of these new, unreported places.

As I said, the people most bothered by her greatest-hits approach are the locals, and I don't think Domino is focused on pleasing them.

Anonymous said...

Point taken. Here's where I am coming from. I am sure that if I were coming to a new city I might be inclined to reference Domino for some insight. But if I were to reference any of my favorite mags I would probably notice that they all seem to visit the same businesses. I am not saying that these shops aren't worth a visit. I am simply asking, what would make me want to reference Domino in the future if I could pick up any other one of my favorite publications and get the same info? It does feel like there is a bit of laziness to it all. Rita had contacted a business before she came to Seattle. She had read about this store from another national publication (she had indicated this info to the owner) and asked the owner if she could take her to a few of her favorite stores. Subsequently, the owner of this store took her to stores that, not only have been written about already, but also were owned by some of her friends. While I am not questioning the shopowners taste, the question begs to be asked, why did she need someone to show her the same shops she probably already knew about? All I am saying is, what makes Rita's writings worth reading about if she is writing about the same thing the other mags are? And, why is it wrong to ask for more? I'm just saying.

Anonymous said...

You're right. What she does is the opposite of journalism. Instead of finding a new story to tell, she's confirming an old one, and reassuring us that we needn't inquire further.

Nor does she say one negative thing about any of the stores she reports on. "So-and-so is strong in vintage inventory, but the prices aren't competitive. You can do better on eBay," etc.

I just fear that this is what Domino wants, more or less.

And it's a problem that is much bigger than Rita or Domino.

NONE of the shelter magazines do real reporting, with the values of real journalism. It's all about agreeing, confirming, praising, pleasing, conforming to conventional opinion. Shelter-magazine writing has no independent thought, no criticism or critical thinking or genunine investigating or questioning. It's one big press release.

Anonymous said...

Well, sorry to say I can't wait til my subscription is over. I'm a sucker for Europen mags such as Living Etc, Elle Decor UK, Marie Claire Maison.. Domino is not only persistently arriving 1 month late, but it is full of crap. Tiny pictures with a person always posing in the room with an annoying smirk, suggestion pages plastered with ugly objects... It takes me 5 minutes to look through the whole thing and throw it out.

Anonymous said...

"Rita had contacted a business before she came to Seattle...and asked the owner if she could take her to a few of her favorite stores. Subsequently, the owner of this store took her to stores that...were owned by some of her friends."

Jeez! Now that IS bad reporting. Did it never occur to Rita that this owner might steer clear of her competition? That the owner could present a very skewed view of the Seattle marketplace?

Did Rita have no interest in maintaining her independence?

Melissa H said...

Does it bother anyone else that now it is calling itself "The Shopping Magazine for Your Home?" Are we turning into Lucky now, Domino??!

Anonymous said...

Melissa H:

Nah. It's just a slogan, to make the magazine friendly to advertisers. All magazines have to whore themselves out in these kinds of ways. It's the nature of the industry.

Melissa H said...

Yeah, but I thought Domino thought of themselves as "the magazine of style" or a "lifestyle" magazine or something. Now it just seems off because the emphasis is on shopping, not taking what you already have and improving it.

Anonymous said...





Anonymous said...

I heard Domino was saved by Cottage Living getting the axe instead.

Love Domino and can't imagine it being gone - especially now that we are losing the Canadian equivalent (WISH Magazine).

That being said there is always room for improvement if you Domino folks are reading this!!!

Liv said...

I renewed my subscription and bought one for my sister. Then I bought another subscription for a friend as a "thank you." I'll be pissed if it tanks. I really enjoy it, even if sometimes I want to rip pages out and throw them away.

Revival Home and Garden said...

As said mysterious "store owner" whom Rita contacted prior to her visit, thought I would weigh in to set the record straight. (Rita, if you're reading this--I know Decorno is a must-read over at Domino--hope I'm not telling tales out of school.)

Rita contacted me via e-mail prior to her visit to Seattle, after several Domino staffers had passed along a mention of my new shop (shameless plug: She asked if I would mind meeting her briefly during her Seattle scouting trip to share my thoughts on her list, a preliminary list she already had compiled prior to my meeting with her.

I am happy to say I most strongly encouraged her to go to all the shops I view as my biggest competitors, because they are great stores and deserve the recognition. And in terms of taking Rita to stores owned by "my friends," I wish I had lots of cool shop-owner friends, but sadly, I haven't a one, other than the owner of the store directly next to mine...and Rita was bound to see that one anyway! I was, however, lucky to be able to meet a number of lovely shopowners through my visits with Rita, which was a great side effect of the day.

But, in an effort to defend my integrity, I digress...I offered to tour Rita around for a few hours, mainly to drive her to various "shopping" neighborhoods where she could see things on and off her list. In the final printed piece, there were several mentions I didn't necessarily agree with, ommissions of places I told her she should go, and many I did not have on my list or accompany Rita to...some I had never even heard of and ones I had told her she could skip! I imagine Rita pools input from a variety of sources, then determines what she deems feature-worthy, on whatever basis she uses to determine such things.

I really have nothing groundbreaking to add to this conversation but felt compelled to defend myself from the accusation of steering Rita away from "the competition," and to add that I found Rita perfectly lovely on a personal level, for whatever that's worth.... I know that's no basis for a subscription, or for championing Rita as a valuable contributor to Domino, but I thought it worth mentioning. Maybe no one cares about any of this back story, but I thought I would share how the story unfolded. Isn't that what we all love Decorno for?

Anonymous said...

I have been reading the comments on this particular post with great interest. I am one of the shop owners who Rita had said she would make the effort to stop and see.

When I had read on the daily dose that Rita was making the trip to Seattle, I put myself out there and took a chance Rita might try to make the trip to my store. Not being located in Seattle, I knew the odds were against me that she would even consider coming (I am about 35 minutes north of downtown).

Not being located in Seattle has been a challenge to say the least. And I will admit I am somewhat of a maverick having located myself in the suburbs in an area that might leave something to be desired when it comes to upscale shopping. None the less, I chose this location with a strong belief that it has potential.

I have felt for a long time that the north end of Puget Sound has been ignored by the press. We have always lived in the shadow of Seattle. While I acknowledge I am a bonafide city girl, and have always loved Seattle. I admit to a sense of frustration that Seattle has truly been what defines us all in the northwest. There is a bit of snobbery that permeates the press that there couldn't possibly be anything more.

I had communication back and forth with Rita, and in the end, it seemed quite possible she would make the trip to visit my store. While, I understand Rita turning to the locals for suggestions, coming to Leah from Revival for her opinion really was a defining moment for me. Leah didn't know me from Adam. How could she have possibly been in a position to recommend she come to my store? I had pointed out to Rita, just as some of your other readers for this post, that while all of the shops suggested in and around Seattle were fabulous, (And I admit I love Revival Home and Garden, as well as all of the others she wrote about) that there have been many writings in the national arena about most of the stores mentioned. I had hoped to appeal to her sense of adventure and give us here, up north, a chance to shine. It's obvious she didn't think it worth the effort. I do not blame any one person for this being the case. I realize how Rita had a time constraint. I also realize that she did come to see Seattle, (although I really do consider us up here the burbs of the city) nor do I blame Leah, how could I (Leah, please believe I think you are a wonderful example of the best of Seattle)?

I suppose I risk somewhat of a backlash for having voiced my thoughts here. But, some of what has been said here is true. The magazines do seem to have blinders on and to some extent, it does feel like a "press release" at times. There does seem to be alot of reaffirmation of the presses good taste amounst themselves. Though surely, the mavericks out there must have a place in it all?

With all that said, I love Domino. I would hate to think of it not making it. But, I believe they will weather this storm. Perhaps, they should consider being a little more like the Domino of old. Wait, wouldn't that make them trailblazers? Dare I say, "mavericks"??? :)


ed said...