#WildcardTuesday

Part 7 in an Indefinite Anthology

Today’s Trending Topic: Magazines.com

A Bit of Shit

Mgains.om (stylized m ga in s. om) was founded by Maurice Gains in 1901. It holds the distinction of being the first website published on the World Wide Web, and it is still operational to this day. Initially part blog and partly to promote and formally recognize the vibratory power of the utterance of “om“, it later became a more comprehensive portal for those looking for any kind of “m gain”— muscle gain, market gains, etc.

Gains, the site’s founder, was born in 2065. He was an avid yogi and vehement opponent of capitalism and what he saw to be its virulent effects; this led him to pursue time travel for a single reason: to create the internet himself, rewriting the history books by replacing the “.com” top-level domain with “.om”.

Gains later gained a gainful number of followers on stone age media through his creation of the internet— at one point everyone who had an account on the world’s most popular stone age media platform, tryme.om, was required to have him added as a friend. (He is credited for having started Try Me, although over a century-and-a-half later, rumors persist that he “borrowed” the site’s idea and intellectual property from a variety of sources, including the Winkleburen twins and James Brown.)

Gains’ once peanut-sized ego began to inflate to planet-sized proportions. This continued unabated; he went crazy. 15 minutes of fame became more than 15 decades of enduring severe mental disorder and disarray, either in a physical or spiritual state. He had no way of getting back to his era of birth. His biological clock had frozen solid, and while his butterfly effect— creating the internet many decades before it really came about— was neat and all, it didn’t make up for all the agony of seeing and hearing imagined, yet disturbing phenomena; not having any “real” friends (those anonymous stone age media buddies don’t count); and most importantly, having to hold a secret, as time travel had never been seen and his calculated discovery of it 14 years and 302 days out of the womb, on April 4, 2080, would simply seem like a fabricated hoax.

It is believed by spiritual experts that Gains’ went through nine years of spiritual purgatory after his untimely death on May 13, 2056— this being prior to his reincarnation. As proof of their theory, they cite the fact that Gains’ purported reincarnated self was also named “Maurice Michael Gains”, and Gains could vividly recount all of his supposed previous incarnation’s life events, in the moments immediately after having finished an autobiographical bookdocumentary film, and detailed Wikipedia entry about his supposed previous life. The new Maurice Gains, therefore, went by the moniker of “Maurice Michael Gains II.” Scientists have cast overwhelming doubt over Gains’ story and telling of events.

Gains, in his second birth experience post-2065, was able to correct all of his mistakes made in his previous lif(v)e(s). He went through the many stages of physical, spiritual, and transcendental evolution. He first got a six-pack and a greased-back haircut. He then became a bonafide Bodhisattva. Finally, he became posthuman, before becoming an actual God, before becoming the penultimate God. By the turn of the 22nd century, “God” had been renamed “Gains”.

Yes, this was all bullshit. But I hope it was at least somewhat enlightening or entertaining.

Real Primer

The real topic of this blog post is Magazines.com. Although I typically don’t go out seeking to promote businesses, there are a few reasons that I think Magazines.com is an exception to this self-imposed rule.

First of all, I visited Magazines.com recently in order to renew my subscription to The Economist. The site was easy to use, and I was able to save money over if I had bought it elsewhere. This was not only because I used a coupon code that made it $5 off, but I actually paid attention to that popup on the upper portion of the page, informing me that Swagbucks would credit me 35 points per dollar for my purchase. Including cash back, I am effectively paying less than $100 for an entire year of preeminent editorial.

As this blog has probably firmly established, whether an entity has a Wikipedia article helps cement its legitimacy, or lack thereof, in my eyes. Having heard of Magazines.com a number of times, I would’ve assumed that it would’ve a fairly robust page. A picture, clearly delineated sections, and a history, for starters. Thus, I was a bit surprised to find simply this:

Magazines.com Wikipedia

Essentially, the article is a four sentence stub. It has some interesting info that I wouldn’t have known otherwise, such as the fact that Time has invested in it and it’s based in Tennessee, but it’s still rather basic. I would use another established discount magazine subscription site to base my enhanced article off of, but unfortunately, there aren’t too many prominent competitors. None with Wikis, at least.

Ultimately, I chose to use a e-commerce site whose goods serve as a close parallel to magazines: books. While there were first-party sellers with Wiki pages, like Thriftbooks, I decided to use the Wiki for AbeBooks as a model, as it had clear sections and was of a decent length.

The first step would be to actually look at those links that are provided. For the most part, they were outdated and rubbish— mentions held little relevance to the current state of the company. I would look elsewhere for actual info on the company.

Something I would want to focus upon was creating an info box for the site— info boxes are those rectangular info-containing sidebars that tell you all the basics about a company.

While most of this info would be easy to upload on the site, one particular item would cause me issues: the company logo. Not only does Wikipedia have strict rules as to the use of photos that are commercial— I tried looking for a version of the Magazines.com logo that could be reused without any exemptions, and failed—  but one has to upload the actual image onto the Wikimedia Commons, which requires the creation of a Wikipedia account.

I created a Wikipedia and Wikimedia account. But, here comes the Catch-22— even with an account, you do not have immediate access to upload files. Per Wikipedia’s User Access Levels document:

Autoconfirmed or confirmed status is required to move pages, edit semi-protected pages, and upload files or upload a new version of an existing file.

This was also reaffirmed via the text image below:

Wikipedia Upload Wizard

Good to know. So this info box would go without an image for the time being; Wikipedia Commons, from what I understood, only accepts images that are public domain, “copyleft“, etc.

After a handful of edits— a majority of the edits were made in order to get formatting and other small details correct— I ended up with the page below:

Magazines.com Wiki

I didn’t spend a ton of time making the text perfect— I have already noticed that I use the word “claim” in two back-to-back sentences in the third paragraph in the “History” section. I could’ve at least said “also” claimed.

While I was able to eliminate most “red” links— links that instead of being blue appear red; the sanguine hue implies that the article has fought a bloody war trying to link to a different Wikipedia article, but has not succeeded, possibly experiencing a number of casualties in the process— one still remained in the info box itself. I could probably find out how to link the term “magazine subscriptions” to an actual Wikipedia article— this one would be a good choice— but I will let some other denizen of the Wikipedia community do that. (If not done in the coming weeks, my OCD self may take it upon myself.)

Other than the content itself, I think I helped by way of addition by subtraction. The previous links in the references largely had scattered, minimal, or worst of all, irrelevant info; thus, I deleted them.

While my links do not reveal anything too enthralling, at least they come from established sources, and are properly cited as footnotes. The page simply makes more sense and looks a lot cleaner. It looks like someone actually gave a crap.

Conclusion

I ultimately wish I could’ve provided more info on Magazines.com’s Wiki, but it wasn’t exactly easy to find any substantial info on the company that wasn’t from their copy. Quite frankly, I was lucky to even find the Inc. 5000 placement.

It’s not as if I didn’t try. I input all kinds of queries on Google, ranging from “magazines.com article” to “magazines.com feature” to specific sites where I was hoping I’d find an article, like “magazines.com forbes.” I tried at least a couple of variations on each query. As a last ditch effort, I tried searching for both the company name and founder: “jay clarke magazines.com.”

That got me a little closer to what I was looking for, but still no cigar. One interesting thing I did end up finding was this vintage video, which is on Magazines.com’s YouTube channel. I also found many of his various social media profiles— LinkedInPinterestTwitter, etc.— a few of those creepy directories that tell you someone’s phone number, email address, and the like; and various webpages for events at which he spoke or attended.

The closest things to actual features or informative articles I would find from the media was a trio of press releases on the Nashville Post. Of these three article links, one no longer functions, while the other two simply announce the hiring of some key person within the firm.

Magazines.com Articles
The three articles on Clarke/Magazines.com from a local publication

Seven posts in, it has become clear to me that not every article on Wikipedia is or should be as long as that on the 1918 New Year Honors. It’s cliche, but when life gives you lemons, make the damn best lemonade you can.

On a final note, no post on an American business will be allowed to betray this obligatory, patriotic rallying call: Go ‘Murica!

Quote of the Day:

“I created the internet. No help from anyone. That simple. Gains out.” — Maurice Gains upon exiting a June 1949 episode of The Ed Sullivan Show

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