if I may get a little Craiggish for a minute here ...
I don`t understand this process. When I subscribe to a magazine, it`s usually because it`s something in the store that I want to save on purchasing. So I buy one in the store, I go home, and I use the little card in the magazine. Or I might purchase a copy of People, go home, and sign up on the People website.
You say that unlike PCH, you don`t sign people up for contests, but I think people sign up for magazines through PCH because of the contests, not despite some perceived annoyance of the contests. If it weren`t for the contests, I would imagine people would just sign up directly, or not at all.
I guess I just don`t understand the bookstore concept of purchasing magazines ... for example, I can`t see me wanting a magazine about fly fishing in Montana, and then going to a general magazine website and try to find one with that theme. Without reading an issue or two - by purchasing issues in a store or newsstand - or reading some samples, how am I going to know if I will want to read that magazine for a whole year? Most of the subscriptions I have had (which are all canceled at this point, due to lack of time) are all magazines that I had purchased or browsed as individual copies before signing up for a year`s worth.
The only people who purchase blindly, as I see it, are either a) buying a subscription as a gift, so that the receiver of the gift may or may not extend beyond a year; or b) purchasing something that seems interesting enough to get them into some contest.
So I guess I am looking for some clarification on how this process and industry actually works in order to be able to help this site be better.