Yoga Journal just screwed me royal

Cover art for Yoga Journal
September 2010

I’ve been a subscriber to Yoga Journal since I started my practice, about 10 years ago. I’ve read all their issues, cover to cover, except for the past year when things have gotten a bit hectic. But I’ve kept stacking the issues on my desk for future reading. The back issues fill up a bookcase shelf in my study.

More importantly, I’ve cited the magazine hundreds of times, to their pose listing, features, cover stories and other articles. I’ve even defended the magazine’s reliance on advertising to survive in a competitive marketplace. I saw it as a necessary barometer of yoga’s influence in American mainstream culture.

Today, the new editors of Joga Yournal released their “beta” edition of their website, designed to be more graphically optimized and ad-friendly.  I found this message after trying to load a JY link:

File Not Found
The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

Please try the following:

  • Check your spelling
  • Return to the home page
  • Click the Back button

Talk about playing dumb. They know why I got a 404 error.

In the switch-over, they broke 50-some links, minimum. I’m sure that there are even more broken links because my link checker has not had a chance to go through my whole site, close to a thousand posts and another 50 pages.  I will have to check each broken YJ link and to find the new URL, if it exists. This hiccup engenders hours of work, time that I’d rather spend holding my life together, practicing yoga or writing on my blog.

Dumb and dumber

Cover art for Yoga Journal
May 1975

This kind of incompetence does not have to happen. Websites go through redesigns and technology transitions all the time, and the gold standard is “Don’t alienate your loyal readers who are linking to your site.” They are flushing 10 years of goodwill down the drain.  It’s easy to plan for automated redirects to valid pages under the new design. Perhaps, it’s not the editors who goofed, but the hired technical staff or web design team.

I’ve been pushed into making a decision. I am not renewing my print subscription of Joga Yournal, which will run out this month. I will switch over to a Amazon Kindle subscription, which allows me to pay on a pre-issue basis. I may not get the dirt-cheap price that you can sometimes obtain, but I will be monitoring the editorial team’s performance and quality assurance and drop them completely if this shit continues.

Yoga is a different market than it was 10 years ago when there were a handful of magazines and websites that focuses on the practice. Yoga Journal was a touchstone.  Now, there are hundreds of quality websites from all over the world. There are thousands of blogs written by first-class master teachers, instructors, practitioners and intellectuals. I have more than a dozen select sites that I regret I can’t read regularly.

I’ve already spent too much time fuming about this incident by writing this blog entry.

3 thoughts on “Yoga Journal just screwed me royal

  1. Everyone is canceling! Since I’ve canceled them, I’ve found a number of interesting blogs to read and books to buy that aren’t the “Yoga Superstars” or don’t sell “Toesox” etc.
    I found your blog also 🙂 I’m done with YJ. Yoga international stopped being a magazine also which is a real shame.All the fitness mags out there are ONE BIG AD! I used to tell people to go to YJ to learn about yoga, I guess since their “new” website that is not possible?

    1. I don’t have a problem with ads and being marketplace-aware. Any media outlet needs cash. However, it should not be at the cost of losing its loyal core of readers. It seems that YJ has made the decision that there’s more to be gained by expanding its audience to capture the once-a-month yoga practitioner who buys Lululemon than keeping the core people who are really serious about their practice. I’ve come to distrust what YJ is writing.

      Of course, my current gripe is about ineptitude in making a technical transition from an obsolete web publishing system and WordPress, but it is symptomatic.

      1. I’ve been reading them for years! I did notice when Judith left (loved her anatomy class) it changed. Their market place, I never had a issue with but when the WHOLE magazine b/c one ginormous ad….? Also as far as trusting them, they had a article on how to do revolved triangle I think it was? And the next month someone wrote in and told them that was WRONG and could cause injury if someone did it the way it was written! That was it for me. Now I’ve found some nice yoga blogs and some great books to read, and I will miss them b/c they used to be the “go to place” but not anymore.
        Oh and your gripe? Its legit! There is nothing worse than reading and clicking on the links and getting 404 error on all of them!!!

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