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PostPosted: September 26th, 2006, 12:14 pm 
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Joined: August 1st, 2003, 9:52 am
Posts: 1860
From: Angela Hoy
To: news@naturalfoodnet.com
Subject: COMPLAINT about Natural Food Network Magazine
Date sent: Mon, 25 Sep 2006 14:16:54 -0400

September 25, 2006

Mostyn Media / Natural Food Network Magazine
Dan Bolton - news@naturalfoodnet, dbolton@365media.com
Sung Bae, domain registrar - sbae@365media.com
270 Redwoodshores Parkway
San Mateo, CA 94065
P(650)574-4210

WritersWeekly.com has received a complaint about:
Natural Food Network Magazine / naturalfoodnet.com / Mystic Media / 365 Media

WritersWeekly.com is a publication that publishes information for and
about freelance writers. The publication is the largest-circulation
freelance writing ezine in the world.

As part of that information, WritersWeekly.com publishes a Warnings
section on its website and in its newsletter. This warning section
contains reports about publications that are unprofessional in dealing
with writers, have refused to pay writers money owed to them, who have
not abided by their contracts, or who have unfair contract terms. These
reports are used by WritersWeekly.com's subscribers to decide which
publications they should and should not work with.

Your firm has been submitted to us for inclusion in the
WritersWeekly.com Whispers and Warnings section.

Step one of our investigation of this report is to gather all relevant
correspondence between your publication and the person submitting the
complaint so that we can piece together that person's side of the story.
Step one of our investigation has been completed.

[AL] (name removed for publication here but was, of course, provided
to the publisher) alleges you owe her $568.50 and that you owe
other freelancers money as well. See complete allegation under
my signature.

-----------------
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
-----------------

The second step in our investigation is to send this communication to
your firm to get its side of the story. If you have evidence disputing
these allegations, or would like to make your own statement about these
allegations for publication in our report, please email
angela@writersweekly.com within two business days.

***All correspondence for our investigations must be in writing and is
subject to publication.***

Our report on your firm is scheduled for inclusion in our publication
next Wednesday.

If there is no response to these allegations, WritersWeekly.com will
still publish this complaint, but our readers will not be able to read
your side of the story.

We appreciate your prompt response in this matter.

Angela Hoy
Publisher
WritersWeekly.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
THE COMPLAINT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: [AL]
Subject: Whispers and Warnings
Date sent: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 11:40:09 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Angela:

I'm writing with regard to Natural Food Network Magazine, a publication
that hires writers but doesn't always (or often) have the ability to pay
them.

An acquaintance recommended this publication to me with the initial
proviso that editor Dan Bolton can be slow-paying. I should have heeded
her advice. I provided copy for the magazine in mid-June 2006 and as of
today (Sept. 22, 2006) still face a long road on collecting.

In addition, Dan asked me to serve as a guest editor this summer. I met
with Dan for two hours of training and in the copious "virtual
training" emails that followed, I learned that he maintains a priority list for
paying employees and vendors -- a lengthy list that places freelance
writers squarely at the bottom.

This ethical violation, plus my own doubts that I would ever get paid,
convinced me to cease all work for Natural Food Network and begin
pressing for payment. Below please find a few pertinent emails I have
had with Dan throughout our brief working relationship, as well as our
current email thread.

The amount I am owed is $568.50.
[AL]


Below: An email thread regarding payment of my invoices, and the email
in which Dan specified the priority list for payment.


----- Original Message -----
From: Dan Bolton
To: [AL]
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2006 11:20 AM
Subject: RE: Invoice

I have the invoice and you are in the queue. Expect a lengthy delay
as cash flow is very tight right now and I have at least five writers
ahead of you. Dan


---------------------------------
From: [AL]
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2006 11:02 AM
To: dbolton@365media.com
Subject: RE: Invoice

Hi Dan:

Any word on the revised invoice, and when I should expect payment?

[AL]


Dan Bolton <dbolton@365media.com> wrote: No problem on
paying invoice for training etc. but I noticed word counts were high on the
$322 invoice. All of that appeared in print, right? I checked
July/August (NFN8) and have a word count of 230 for the
NFN8_whatscool_personalcare. Your invoice shows 343. Just want to make
sure you understand that you get paid for what's published, not what's
submitted. I'll send a revised invoice where there are differences.

Regards,

Dan


---------------------------------
From: [AL]
Sent: Thursday, September 07, 2006 2:45 PM
To: dbolton@365media.com
Subject: Re: Invoice


Hi Dan:

Attached is the invoice for the training ($60.00 total), as well as
another invoice for news briefs (total $186.50). This brings the total
due, including the invoice for $322, to $568.50.

Thanks,

[AL]

----- Original Message -----
From: Dan Bolton
To: [AL]
Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2006 4:10 PM
Subject: RE: Invoice

Hi [AL],

I have an invoice for $322 that has been processed for the What's
Cool stuff. Did you submit one for hours worked on the night I did that
training with you? If so it may have been misplaced. Best to send me a
statement of all that you are owed. Payment is for published work
only. Here are the last couple of issues.

Dan

---------------------------------
From: [AL]
Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2006 3:39 PM
To: dbolton@365media.com
Subject: Invoice

Hi Dan:

I'm wondering when I can expect payment for the work I did this
summer.

Thanks,
[AL]


----- Original Message ----- From: "Dan Bolton"
<dan@naturalfoodnet.com>
To: [AL]
Sent: Friday, June 30, 2006 10:57 AM
Subject: RE: Email account now active....
> right
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [AL]
> Sent: Friday, June 30, 2006 10:39 AM
> To: dan@naturalfoodnet.com
> Subject: Re: Email account now active....
>
> Thanks, Dan. So for the editing services I'll be performing for
the current issue, I should expect to be paid in early September? (The issue
goes to press in late August, correct?)
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dan Bolton" <dan@naturalfoodnet.com>
> To: [AL]
> Sent: Friday, June 30, 2006 10:19 AM
> Subject: RE: Email account now active....
>
>
>> Hi [AL]
>>
>> Invoice monthly to be paid on the first. For editing services you
should expect payment shortly after we go to press. Payment for
freelance work depends on publication. It's a good idea to submit an invoice
with the aritcle but some pieces get held for weeks prior to publication.
Payment is generally 35-45 days after publication. Issues fat with ads are a
good clue that you will receive prompt payment... Thin issues generally
indicate we will be cash short. I don't publish unless the revenue covers
expenses but it is not uncommon for advertisers to take 45-60 days to pay.
Right now I still have four writers unpaid from the May issue. Here is the
priority list:
>>
>> Full time staff (all three of us)
>> Printer
>> Mailer/Postage
>> Advertising reps (they work on commission, paid when monies
arrive)
>> Editors/Art Director (separate invoice monthly for your editing
work)
>> Senior contributors (reliable writers who typically have had
stories
>> published in two or three issues)
>> Contributors (this is where the what's cool you did falls)
>> Guest writers
>>
>> Dan
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: [AL]
>> Sent: Friday, June 30, 2006 9:45 AM
>> To: Dan Bolton
>> Subject: Re: Email account now active....
>>
>> Hi Dan:
>>
>> Was trying to figure this one out -- when you say "register.com
>> interface",
>> what does that mean? From what I can tell, register.com is a
place where you
>> can reserve domain names. Where do I log in?
>>
>> Also, I have a few questions about payment. How often should I
invoice you
>> during this training period? (Weekly, biweekly, or monthly?)
Also,
what is
>> the turnaround time for your payment? I like to keep my books
fairly
>> organized and I like to know when money will be coming in.
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> [AL]
>>
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Dan Bolton" <dan@naturalfoodnet.com>
>> To: [AL]
>> Sent: Friday, June 30, 2006 12:39 AM
>> Subject: Email account now active....
>>
>>
>> Hi [AL].... I see some pitches arriving and lots of activity
on the extranet.
>>
>> Your natural food network email account is now active. You may
request all
>> email to be re-directed to your... [details about their website and login
info. removed]

>> Sarah Muir handles all product release and Holly Case handles all
news.
>> Look
>>
>> for the kind of items that will help reporters do their
assignments. You
>> will see releases from packaged facts, for example, describing
the latest market research. These guys agreed to send us executive summaries
at no charge so whenever you see something very interesting request the
report and then put a copy on the ftp site in the folder called Research &
Resources.
>> It's a lending library available to all of us and very helpful at
times.
>> Keep practicing... the latest PDF of the magazine is in Pages_in
I
put
>> your
>> name in the staff box as a contributing editor anticipating the
importance
>> of your contribution to our success.
>>
>> Regards,
>>
>> Dan
>>
>> Dan Bolton, Editor
>> Natural Food Network
>> 650 286-7398
>> 650 286-4107 (fax)


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 Post subject: PUBLISHER RESPONDS
PostPosted: September 26th, 2006, 12:16 pm 
Offline

Joined: August 1st, 2003, 9:52 am
Posts: 1860
PUBLISHER RESPONDS

From: "Dan Bolton" <dbolton@365media.com>
Subject: RE: COMPLAINT about Natural Food Network Magazine
Date sent: Mon, 25 Sep 2006 12:09:23 -0700
Send reply to: <dbolton@365media.com>
Copies to: [AL]
Organization: 365 Media

Hi Angela,

We have every intention of paying [AL] for the work she
performed and the words actually published (not submitted). However, I feel that it
is important that I not place her very vocal demands ahead of the other
writers awaiting payment for the summer issues (Holly Case, Jack Egan, Beverly
Burmeier for example). I explained to [AL] that we are a self-funded
start-up, that I do not have a line of credit or angel investor and that
I sometimes pay late. This is largely because I must pay the printer, pay
postage/mail charges, pay rent, pay commissions to the sales staff, pay
the circulation clerk and the bookkeeper and then pay the writers -
beginning with the contributing editors. We have published five issues this year,
payments to freelancers were within my estimated time of 45-60 days for
three of those issues. We had weak sales for two successive issues
during the summer (as did the entire category of Food Processing & Distribution
magazines see Media Business, Sept. 2006, p. 27).

Here is a sampling from the list of Decliners:
Food Processing magazine, YTD down 120 pages
Natural Food Merchandiser, YTD down 68 pages
Vitamin Retailer, YTD down 25 pages
Whole Foods Source, YTD down 24 pages

Fortunately sales picked up with the September issue. Accounts
Receivable are sufficent to meet expenses and money is beginning to arrive.

I'm even more anxious than [AL] to establish predictable cash flow,
you see, because during the past year I've only drawn expenses from the
company. The sooner I get everyone on the list their checks, the better.

As founding editor/director, I'm last in line.

Regards,

Dan


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 Post subject: WRITER REPLIES
PostPosted: September 26th, 2006, 2:34 pm 
Offline

Joined: August 1st, 2003, 9:52 am
Posts: 1860
WRITER REPLIES

Hi Angela:

As a professional freelancer, I have neither time nor inclination to worry
about the inner workings of a client's business. I would never request
early payment if I were having cash-flow difficulties, nor do I accept Dan's
excuses for his poor business policies. As another one of his freelancers
told me recently: If you don't have the money to hire writers, don't hire
writers.

I'll say it again: I should have listened to my acquaintance when she
warned me that Natural Food Network does not pay promptly.

Apparently Dan Bolton does not buy into the concept of paying bills when
they come due -- without lengthy excuses, pointed fingers, or convoluted
priority lists. If my landlord felt the same, perhaps I could freelance
for charity rather than for income.

My continued thanks for your help in this matter.

Best,

[AL]


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PostPosted: October 17th, 2006, 9:07 am 
Offline

Joined: August 1st, 2003, 9:52 am
Posts: 1860
From: [AL]
Subject: Update
Date sent: Sun, 15 Oct 2006 11:50:24 -0700

Hi Angela:

Thanks again for your help over at Whispers & Warnings. Wanted to update
you -- I've received a check for $186.50 from Natural Food Network
Magazine. Not quite the $568 I'm owed, but it's a start.

Thanks again for continuing to fight for writer's rights!

- A.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 11th, 2007, 8:10 pm 
Offline

Joined: August 1st, 2003, 9:52 am
Posts: 1860
WRITER SENDS UPDATE

From: [AL]
Subject: Update for Whispers and Warnings
Date sent: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 18:45:46 -0800

Hi Angela!

Hope your new year is treating you great.

Last year, you printed my complaint with regard to Natural Food Network
Magazine. Six months after I first invoiced them, they've paid me less
than $300 of the $568 they've owed me. At least it's something.

However, I'd like to ask you to urge all writers to avoid this
publication. In the communication with editor Dan Bolton, he
continues to pound on and on about his publication's financial woes,
stopping only briefly to admit: "You guys (the freelance writers) got
short shrift but I could not figure any other way out of it."

Writers should avoid Natural Food Network unless they like writing for
charity. There's less than no money in it.

Best to you!

[AL]


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