Talk:Publishers Clearing House

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Just a couple more things[edit]

Hi All. Under the History/Lawsuits section it says that the compliance counsel "regulates" Publishers Clearing House. I think I may be the one that made this error. PCH pointed out to me that the counsel only acts as a liaison, which is what the source says.

Especially after the feedback I got from User:Lexein on another article, I think we could probably trim the lead down quite a bit. My initial draft was quite long and some other edits have made it even longer. I'm going to take a shot at a shorter re-write. CorporateM (Talk) 20:15, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

I concur that the lead section is at least 20% too long and overdetailed, especially with details about the lawsuits. I'm surprised that the article got to GA status. Usually GA reviewers are justifiable sticklers for "summary", not "telling the story twice". IMHO it should not have GA status at this time. --Lexein (talk) 18:47, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Well Lexin if that is your IMHO, nominate it for reassessment (at WP:GAR). I did nominate it for reassessment (WP:GAR) and I re-assesed it because the Lead was obviously bad, well visually non-compliant, the first time round; and yes I agree it should not have awarded GA-status, but it was. I got the article improved the second time round, and overall it was not sufficently "bad" to remove GA-status. I have removed GA-status from articles, when and where such action is justified. Interestingly, looking at User:GA bot/Stats you don't appear to be a very profilic GAN reviewer. Pyrotec (talk) 19:15, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Hey, hey, now. Is it about me, or is it about the article? Can you guess why I've stayed out of GA reviews, with attitudes like yours? --Lexein (talk) 01:04, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Better that we just fix the problem than go on too much about the article's rank. I'll whip something up. CorporateM (Talk) 19:19, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

How about this?

Publishers Clearing House (PCH) is a direct marketing company that sells merchandise and magazine subscriptions and operates prize-based game, search and lotto websites. Its products are promoted through sweepstakes and prize promotions. The company is known for the Prize Patrol, which surprises sweepstakes winners at their home in a televised event.
Publishers Clearing House was founded in 1953 by Harold Mertz to replace door-to-door, single-magazine subscription sales with a single vendor offering multiple subscriptions by mail. It introduced its sweepstakes in 1967. In the early 1990s, the company became the subject of concerns and legal actions regarding whether consumers were misled about their odds of winning the sweepstakes and whether purchases increased their chances. By 2010, the company reached settlements with all 50 states.
Recently the company has invested in online properties, acquiring search company Blingo Inc. in 2006, online gaming company Funtank in 2010 and mobile marketing company Liquid Wireless in 2012.

CorporateM (Talk) 19:19, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

I'd say, "its sweepstakes"(instead of "the"), and "subject of concerns and legal actions", but otherwise it sounds fine to me. Someone else weigh in too? --Lexein (talk) 01:07, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
YesY Done. Pinging User:Bilbobag and User:Randomyesnomaybe to see if they have comments, as both have been involved in prior discussions. CorporateM (Talk) 01:59, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Request edit[edit]


Per the discussion above, I'd like to request an editor move the below content into article-space as the revised Lead. User:Lexein's tweaks are in the draft below. I haven't heard from Bilbo, but it has only been about 5 days. I'm happy to wait longer if needed, though I would prefer to move forward in the normal incremental way, where editors can continue to edit, tweak or even revert. The goal of the re-write is just to make the Lead more concise and better-written. Pinging User:EdJohnston as he has done some of the Request Edits for this page. After this I would like to make ask for the factual correction also noted above, then I should be out of your hair for a while. CorporateM (Talk) 16:53, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

'''Publishers Clearing House''' (PCH) is a [[direct marketing]] company that sells merchandise and magazine subscriptions and operates prize-based game, search and lotto websites. Its products are promoted through sweepstakes and prize promotions. The company is known for the Prize Patrol, which surprises sweepstakes winners at their home in a televised event.
Publishers Clearing House was founded in 1953 by Harold Mertz to replace door-to-door, single-magazine subscription sales with a single vendor offering multiple subscriptions by mail. It introduced its sweepstakes in 1967. In the early 1990s, the company became the subject of concerns and legal actions regarding whether consumers were misled about their odds of winning the sweepstakes and whether purchases increased their chances. By 2010, the company reached settlements with all 50 states.
Recently the company has invested in online properties, acquiring search company Blingo Inc. in 2006, online gaming company Funtank in 2010 and mobile marketing company Liquid Wireless in 2012.
I'm willing to replace the lead with this revised text, but you've given us only the rendered text above and not the wikitext (which has the links, bold, italics etc). Ping me when you have that. Thanks, EdJohnston (talk) 16:59, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
YesY Done @EdJohnston: CorporateM (Talk) 17:42, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
I've replaced the lead with the above text as requested. EdJohnston (talk) 18:20, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Correction[edit]

The very last sentence of the History/Lawsuits section contains the following excerpt:

and continued to operate under the regulation of a "compliance counsel."[8]

This is incorrect as the compliance counsel acts as a liaison, but does not itself regulate PCH, which is what the source (re-published online here) says. I think I made this mistake in writing the draft.

I would suggest something like "and established a "compliance counsel" to act as a liaison between the organization and each state."

Sorry if I am micro-managing, which I said I don't intend to do, but this seemed like an important error. Cheers. CorporateM (Talk) 18:34, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Why don't you go ahead and make this change yourself. That way you can get the subtleties right. EdJohnston (talk) 19:01, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
It seems obvious-enough of a correction and a quick Google search did not reveal any other secondary sources with a different description, but it is in a controversial area. And well, you know how some would interpret the concept of an editor with a COI "getting the subtleties right." But I'd be ok with making the edit myself. If I do make mistakes, I will get flack for it equally whether in article-space or through request edit. Lets let it stew on Talk for a little while in case anyone raises an objection. CorporateM (Talk) 19:26, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
The sentence now has: "Publishers Clearing House reached settlements with all fifty states and continued to operate under the regulation of a "compliance counsel."[8]" I suggest this be replaced by "Publishers Clearing House had reached settlements with all fifty states by 2010". (Assuming 2010 is the correct date). I read one of the primary source court documents and it implied that the term of the compliance counsel was going to end in September 2013. So the compliance counsel is old news by this point and perhaps it is too detailed to mention in our article. If we do include it, we should explain what is the role of the compliance counsel. In that case, we might find that there is no source for the actual role of the compliance counsel outside of primary court documents. EdJohnston (talk) 00:47, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Per WP:COIMICRO, either would be acceptable in my view. It's hard to say whether the compliance counsel is significant enough to warrant inclusion, without direct access to the secondary source cited in the Directory of Company Histories book. I will say that in my research, I haven't seen it in other secondary sources. If it's temporary, which is something I was not aware of, that lends itself to being less important and we would want to summarize, rather than include every term of each agreement. But either way would be reasonably compliant with Wikipedia's basic policies and principles. CorporateM (Talk) 18:04, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
Sorry for delay in responding- had some personal issues to attend to. The compliance counsel in the 2001 settlements was an important part of the settlements, and IMHO should remain. As to the 2010 settlement, this required that PCH, at its expense must hire an ombudsmen to ensure compliance. This was separate and distinct from compliance counsel in the 2001 settlemets. The actual wording in reference #44 is "The company, which admitted no wrongdoing, also must hire an ombudsman to review mailings to insure compliance with the settlement." The actual wording of in reference #45 is "And it must hire an ombudsman to review the company’s solicitations." Based on this I believe an appropriate change would "and it must hire an ombudsman to review mailings to insure compliance with the settlement." This uses language that explains who is to be hired, the "title" of the individual, why this individual is to be put in place, and what their role will be. If there's agreement after some time to review, I'll make the change. Bilbobag (talk) 13:15, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
Bilbo, based on your comment, the phrase "must hire an ombudsman to review mailings to insure compliance with the settlement" is used in the source and is identical to the proposed wording for Wikipedia. The source material is copyrighted and cannot be used verbatim (or almost verbatim) on Wikipedia. Can you think of a way to re-write it so that it is still true to the source, without it being identical to it? CorporateM (Talk) 13:40, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
And welcome back btw!! I was starting to get worried you had been discouraged from participating. CorporateM (Talk) 13:41, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
Corp - Thanks - good to be back. How's this "In order to ensure compliance with the settlement's terms the states required Publishers Clearing House to hire an ombudsman to review all mailings." On a separate note regarding this settlement, we had a discussion about the term "contempt charges". After research I came across this article from the Denver Post that provides background on the 2010 settlement - "After the 2001 settlement, the Colorado AG's office continued to monitor the sweepstake solicitations and noticed there was not an appreciable change in them, according to a news release from Mike Saccone, spokesman for Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. Rather than face contempt charges in court, Saccone said Publishers Clearing House agreed to a number of conditions." (see link below). I believe that adding something like "to settle alleged contempt charges about violating the 2001 agreement" or "to avoid possible contempt charges for violating..." to the first sentence of about the 2010 agreement provides a more accurate and factual background (and context) than our current opening of State AG's "alleged that it had violated the terms of the 2001 agreement"

http://www.denverpost.com/ci_16036496 Bilbobag (talk) 14:15, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

I see that the main difference is adding "to ensure compliance." If you believe this is not implicit as the objective of the ombudsman, making it more clear could be a good edit. Looking at our Wikipedia article on ombudsman, I get the sense that may not be quite right, but it is sourced nonetheless. I don't know.
I noticed that the "contempt charges" is quoted from the plaintiff.
I'd prefer to be hands-off regarding the exact wording of things. CorporateM (Talk) 19:48, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
Hey Bilbobag, is the original correction I mentioned at the top of this string ok? It looks like a pretty obvious correction to me just looking at what the source says and seeing that I made an error, but as someone with subject-matter expertise, it's possible you might bring up another source other editors like myself didn't know about. CorporateM (Talk) 21:20, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
One of the terms of the 2000 or 2001 settlements was that PCH would operate under the guidance of a compliance counsel. I believe Benjamin Hook, former Attorney Genral was appointed as compliance counsel. I'll have to dig up source material to confirm. Bilbobag (talk) 12:44, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
CorporateM, couldn't find anything on 2000 or 2001 settlements, but did find this Findlaw article which quotes an Arizona ABC News report which mentions ombudsman and compliance counsel. It states "Publishers Clearing House will work with a compliance counsel and an ombudsperson to change any deceptive marketing practices in the future to make them more understandable to the consumer". http://commonlaw.findlaw.com/2010/09/publishers-clearing-house-to-pay-in-deceptive-marketing-case.html. Bilbobag (talk) 13:08, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
I found the direct source material from ABC here: "PCH will confer with a compliance counsel and ombudsperson to make their marketing as clear as possible and will also be required to mail a letter to every customer who spends $1,000 a year or more on PCH products." It's referring to the 2010 lawsuit, but it looks like the compliance counsel was extended that year. Most sources seem to lump a lot of the lawsuit terms together in a concise summary, but this source has a bullet dedicated to the compliance counsel: "Establishment of a “Special Compliance Counsel” to act as a liaison between the states and PCH on an ongoing basis." CorporateM (Talk) 15:43, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Update[edit]

There was no clear consensus on Talk in how to describe the Compliance Counsel or whether it should be mentioned. Additionally, at least some sources are ambiguous about its role and activities. For now, I deleted the inaccurate information I had accidentally introduced that was not supported by the source, so it just says the Compliance Counsel was formed, without specifying its activities.

Hopefully at some point disinterested editors will reach consensus on whether it should be included, and if it is included, a few words to describe it. However, for now, it at least doesn't contain a factual error, which is the extent of which I would like to be involved per WP:COIMICRO. CorporateM (Talk) 01:31, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

CorporateM,my concern is that the language you added makes it appear that PCH was the entity that "formed" the compliance counsel, rather than a compliance counsel was established by mutual agreement with the states, as a result of the settlement. I'd suggest the following language, instead "Publishers Clearing House reached settlements with all fifty states and agreed to work with a "compliance counsel". I'll wait a few days, and if you and others agree, will make the change. Bilbobag (talk) 10:12, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
YesY Done CorporateM (Talk) 12:06, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

2010 Settlement[edit]

Based on the discussion on the Talk page in Lawsuits section above, and the additional references from the Denver Post and ABC News in Phoenix, I'd like to modify the 2010 settlement language to read "In 2010 Publishers Clearing House paid $3.5 million to the Attorneys General of 32 states and the District of Columbia to settle possible contempt charges that it had violated the terms of the 2001 agreement. The company denied wrongdoing, but to ensure that the language in its marketing would be clearly understood, agreed to work with both an ombudsperson and a compliance counsel who would review its mailings quarterly.[44][45] The company also agreed to stop tactics that implied the recipient was close to winning, such as sending mail from a "Board of Judges" or saying the recipient had a "key code" for the winning entry." These changes use existing sources, in addition to adding and paraphrasing the Denver Post article relative to contempt charges for violating the 2001 agreement Denver Post article; adding and paraphrasing the ABC News Phoenix article about compliance counsel and ombudsman. ABC News. I'll await comments Bilbobag (talk) 14:07, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

YesY Done Bilbobag Bilbobag (talk) 23:51, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

Requested tweak[edit]


Under History/Online development is the following statement:

I think this sentence is problematic. The quote, "bring young customers into PCH's world" is promotional and the employee, Alex, no longer works at PCH. Additionally, we usually try to avoid naming non-notable BLPs.

I would propose something like:

The text from the source supporting this is: "digital has become the marketer’s leading source of consumer interaction during the past decade." CorporateM (Talk) 18:53, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Corp, here are my concerns. First this section is about the history of the online development. As such we should show the progression over time. Therefore I think it would be appropriate to say that "in 2008, PCH had a goal to bring young customers into PCH’s world. In 2013 digital properties had become the company’s primary channel of interaction with consumers." I would also leave the NY Times quote, or move it so that it precedes the 2013 information. Second, I don't think the quote "bring young customers into PCH's world" is promotional, especially since the preceding paragraph states "in 2011, Publishers Clearing House promoted a "$5,000 every week for life" sweepstakes in TV ads and the front page of AOL.com." I think the $5000 for life paragraph is promotional - describing a marketing strategy (attracting young customers) is factual, informative, and provides context as to why the company moved to on line promos. Bilbobag (talk) 19:51, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughtful input Bilbo. The "into PCH's world" is what sounds promotional to me because of the metaphorical language.
How about something like: "In 2008 a PCH spokesperson said the digital properties were intended to attract younger consumers. By 2013, the internet had become PCH's primary channel of interaction with consumers."
This is pretty close to your proposed: "in 2008, PCH had a goal to bring young customers into PCH’s world. In 2013 digital properties had become the company’s primary channel of interaction with consumers." Except that it has some copyediting and the "into PCH's world" is re-written.
CorporateM (Talk) 21:21, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
That works for me. Bilbobag (talk) 21:29, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
I did the requested edit here of the sentence about younger consumers and the sentence following. Let me know if this is not what was intended. If any more references are to be added, let me know, or just add them directly. In my opinion this change improves the 'promotional language' issue. The phrase 'digital properties' is still buzzwordy and its meaning is not 100% clear. EdJohnston (talk) 03:17, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm fine with that EdBilbobag (talk) 11:18, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
The "By 2013, the internet had become" sentence should be cited to <ref name="resp"/> CorporateM (Talk) 13:20, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

I'd like to request another tweak. Under Sweepstakes/Prizes we state "as of 2012..." and then further on in this paragraph state "in 1995..." Since everything in this article goes from earliest to most recent, to be consistent I'd simply like to move the last sentence of the first paragraph (In 1995, Publishers Clearing House began the tradition...) to be the second sentence. Bilbobag (talk) 14:30, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

I did both of these: added <ref name="resp"/> and switched the placement of the Super Bowl sentence. EdJohnston (talk) 16:31, 23 January 2014 (UTC)