Bait and switch sales tactics?

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Review by TroutStalker posted 06-24-2012 07:15 PM 4563 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Bait and switch sales tactics? No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Shopclass on Demand is a webiste that contains a number of woodowrking videos. I signed up in March during a promotion that promised 1/2 price access for life. That is I paid $25 for six months access and would be allowed to renew for the same price for life. Seemed like a good deal at the time.

I was initially happy with the deal. They had seeded the site with a number of good videos that they typically sell as DVDs for $25 or so. Since then they have added 2-3 more videos each week. However, the quality of the added videos has not matched the initial set of videos. With the exception of an ongoing Chris Schwarz series on handtools the videos have not been impressive. For the most part no better than what one can find for free at numerous sites on the web (The Wood Whisper, Wood Working for Mere Mortals, etc.). Rather dissapointing but I was still happy with the deal; after all it was only $25 for 6 months and they would never raise the price; I was locked in.

Recently Popular Woodworking picked up the rights to the Woodright’s Shop videos. They sent me an e-mail promotion recently stating that they would be adding the Woodright’s Shop to Shop Class on Demand. I was extsatic. Imagine all of Roy’s shows available for viewing on demand.

This week the other shoe dropped. I received an e-mail that the Woodright’s Shop videos would be on a new premium channel of Shop Class on Demand. If I want to view the Woodright’s Shop will cost an additional $60 per 6 months – more than twice what I was paying. So much for my guaranteed 1/2 price for life.

In my opinion Popular Woodworking is engaging in despicable business practices; a classic bait and switch tactic. I won’t be renewing my subscrition.

-- The best thing online is a fish

View TroutStalker's profile


30 posts in 4177 days

14 comments so far

View scamp238's profile


106 posts in 3309 days

#1 posted 06-24-2012 07:52 PM

Sounds like business as usual. Anything to get your dollars from your wallet to theirs. I try not to fall for that stuff, but I am human. I guess you can chalk this up to a lesson learned.

-- Brian, North Georgia

View TheOldTimer's profile


226 posts in 3894 days

#2 posted 06-24-2012 09:26 PM

I think magazine subscriptions are in the toilet so they are trying to make money wherever they can.

-- TheOldTimer,Chandler Arizona

View americanwoodworker's profile


185 posts in 3182 days

#3 posted 06-24-2012 09:30 PM

Ever look at the old woodworking magazines. I mean like 20+ years old. They have alot of content in them. Lots of projects, jigs, stories, interviews etc.. Now look at todays and all you see is ads, Ads, ADS! You pay $5.00 an issue to see about two or three projects, a couple of tips and tricks and thats it.

Issues like what you describe is why I don’t participate with these companies. To much about getting our money and not enough in giving good high quality content.

-- Your freedom to be you, includes my freedom to be free from you.

View TropicalWW's profile


39 posts in 3460 days

#4 posted 06-24-2012 10:00 PM

I’m in the same boat as you, and I have to say, I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one that felt the same way you do.

I’ve been in touch with the powers that be at PWW regarding both the Roy issue and the content issue. They have been very receptive to feedback, and extended offers to try to level things out a bit. Unfortunately, the offers that we’re extended to me are still out of my price range given the fact that I’m heading out for a major cross country move tomorrow. Maybe for someone else, the offer would work, but for me, right now, I have no choice but to stay with what I’ve got, or cancel the service all together.

I truly believe the guys and gals at PWW are stand up people. They want to put out a good product, and they want to produce content that people want. My only real issue with the recent exchanges that i’ve had with PWW were more on the content side than pricing.

Anyone that is currently signed up for ShopClass on Demand will know that in recent weeks, there have been video clips released on various turning topics with Steve Shanesy. My issue with these clips was two fold. First, the most recent clips is nothing more than a 7 min. infomercial for the Wolverine Jig, and second, the clips that are being released as “new” content are the first three chapters from a full DVD that was already availible on the site for download. It’s as if they thought they could re-release the same content and no one would notice! The OP’s comment about the new releases not being up to par with what was originally on the site when we signed up were right on the money.

Anyway, I don’t think PWW did a bait and switch. I think they got caught off guard with the whole Roy thing. Everyone got so excited about being able to bring the Roy content to the masses, that no one thought about the people that were under the impression that they were making a long term commitment just a few months earlier.

This whole experience hasn’t soured me on PWW, but maybe Shop Class isn’t for me. There are just too many good bloggers out there doing free stuff or good subscription stuff to waste money on waiting every two weeks just to get content that was already availible.

View syeret's profile


99 posts in 4125 days

#5 posted 06-25-2012 06:22 AM

I found myself in the same situation, fully agree with you.

View TheOldTimer's profile


226 posts in 3894 days

#6 posted 06-25-2012 05:42 PM

I have canceled all but two of my woodworking magazines for the reasons that americanwoodworker above described. Most of the magazines are concentrated on advertising and tool revues. The content of most of them are repeated year after year. The same old content, the same old stories on why and how to do this and that task. SawStop articles are beaten to death in all of them. The two magazines that I elected to keep contain no advertising. It just does not make sense to me to pay $35.00 dollars per year for a magazine that is plump full of advertising.

-- TheOldTimer,Chandler Arizona

View BenI's profile


333 posts in 2987 days

#7 posted 06-25-2012 11:22 PM

My sister bought me a years subscription to PWW for Christmas and I like it so far. They have some good projects but I definitely understand where you’re coming from, they have a fair amount of ads.

OldTimer, if you don’t mind sharing, which magazines are you subscribed to that have no ads? Curious and looking at maybe asking for more subscriptions for birthday, etc.

-- Ben from IL

View thedude50's profile


3613 posts in 3286 days

#8 posted 06-26-2012 02:06 AM

this is why i have my dvr set to record all the shows and then i rip them to dvd it is just me doing the right thing

-- Please check out my new stores and

View TheOldTimer's profile


226 posts in 3894 days

#9 posted 06-26-2012 03:28 AM


Woodsmith & Shop Smith. They are geared more for the beginner but they have some good Ideas.

-- TheOldTimer,Chandler Arizona

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3999 days

#10 posted 06-26-2012 06:35 AM

Well I know for a fact that it is a communist plot to get your money. 60 bucks to watch videos that have already been paid for by pbs underwriters…It takes one computer tech to keep up the servers and maybe a staff of 1 or 2 to program the content and keep the web site alive, for 50 buck a year someone is rolling in the dough…Almost sounds like a government program. Save your money and watch Stumpy Nubbs!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3057 days

#11 posted 06-28-2012 07:43 PM

Bob, not even close. Do you have any idea what high availability infrastructure hosting costs? In order to let multiple people view content at the same time with the same performance, you need some beefy gear in a data center with some pretty beefy gear (redundant electricity from separate grids, back-up generators that can run for days, fully redundant access and core layer networks if you are doing it right). That does not count bandwidth. A FULL DS3 costs about 10k per month from a tier I or tier II provider.. A website or web service with a lot of streaming traffic may require multiple.
Also I fail to see how this is bait and switch. When you signed up, the content your are now excited about was not even on the site. If you chose not to subscribe to the additional content, you still get the same thing you signed up for at the same price (unless i am missing something). This would be the same thing as claiming you cable company is ripping you off because you are paying for basic cable and don’t get HBO


View TroutStalker's profile


30 posts in 4177 days

#12 posted 06-29-2012 05:53 PM


I guess I should have been more explicit. When I signed up I was promised that the price would never change and all future content would be included. That was true until recently; they usually add a couple of videos each week. With the wodright’s shop they created a new ‘special’ channel and asked for $60 more for a six month subscription. Hence, I consider it bait (the promise that any new content would be included) and switch (putting new content in a new special channel).

Also, I agree with you that there is considerable expense involved in setting up the infrastructure for delivering video content. However, they had already setup the infrastucture for the previous videos. Hence, other than possibly needing more bandwith, they had no additional infrastrucure expenses to add the woodright’s shop.

-- The best thing online is a fish

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3057 days

#13 posted 06-29-2012 06:05 PM

If you were promised all future content included in that price, I agree with you. I’m sure they found a way around it by claiming it’s some sort of premium service and non-premium members will still get additional content, however that is sticking way to close to the letter of the law and shying away from the spirit of it. I choose not to continue or even begin to to business with such companies.


View rpaul1's profile


2 posts in 3137 days

#14 posted 09-03-2014 11:29 PM

I am also disappointed with the quality of content and pricing of PWW both magazine and website offerings. I subscribe to fine woodworking, wood, woodcraft, American woodworker, woodworkers journal and Canadian woodworker. The popular woodworking prices and recycled content are by far the worst combination of highest price and least value. Unlike some of you, I can,t even get a reply from customer service on how to download an ebook that I purchased, but will not download on any computer or device I’ve tried. I have to say I won’t be sending them any more of my money.

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