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Thread: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?


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Aaron James Fra...

Posts: 791
Registered: 03/13/15
Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 27, 2017 3:11 AM
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Re: NY Literary Magazine Scam
Dear Author,

This is an official email from the NY Literary Magazine (NYLiteraryMagazine.com) regarding the Best Story Award contest, the nomination emails, the scam complaints, and the cyberbullying attacks upon our authors and our magazine. (This is the last email you will ever receive from us.)

What is this about?
On Christmas, an email was sent from NYLiteraryMag.org telling authors they were nominated for the Best Story Award contest and inviting them to submit their book to our contest.
It appears these emails angered people and caused them to believe our contest is a scam.

We would like to apologize for any annoyance, confusion, disappointment, or aggravation which the marketing email you received on Christmas may have caused you.

Additionally, there have been many inaccurate accusations circling around and cyberbully attacks upon authors who were awarded our award.
This has ruined our business and caused us to permanently shut down our magazine and contests.
Everyone who purchased an entry into our contest has been refunded.

After years of work on this magazine, we have had to fire our entire team of loyal, hard-working, full-time employees.

Who are we?
The NY Literary Magazine was a print and digital magazine.
We published free-to-read digital poetry anthologies, ran free-to-enter short story contests and poetry contests, interviewed authors, and wrote helpful articles.

The scam allegations are regarding an email sent out from NYLiteraryMag.org about our "Best Story Award" contest.
This is indeed a book contest we started and were running on our website with an extremely affordable reading fee.

What happened?
Regretfully, we outsourced our marketing to an Asian company to help us spread the word about our Best Story Award contest.
We believed they were experts and could help us reach authors.
It was our terrible mistake to entrust the entire marketing campaign in their hands including the marketing methods, approach, and text.
They sent out a marketing email on our behalf, from an email at nyliterarymag.org, at an unexpected time for USA time zone on Christmas.

Unfortunately, it appears they chose the wrong approach and terminology when inviting authors to our contest by telling them they were nominated instead of simply informing them of our contest and inviting them to join it.
It was our terrible mistake not to closely supervise and monitor each marketing action they did and the text they used.

For other businesses such as VIP Entrepreneur clubs (with ~$1,000 annual membership fees), sending a nomination email instead of an invite to join their clubs worked very well. Our marketing agency, therefore, presumed this was a good way to approach authors as well. They even thought that authors who didn't want to/couldn't afford the $15 entry fee to our contest would still be happy to be nominated and be able to mention it in their bio.
They did not think there would be an issue with nominating multiple authors.
Nor did they think it would annoy authors to be nominated.

We apologize to all the authors who feel they were misled by being nominated.

In reply to the inaccurate accusations:

We are shocked at the number of inaccurate allegations which are circling on social media regarding us, our magazine, our anthologies, and contest. To make matters worse, some forum threads are locked and comments disabled on websites so we can't even answer the accusations.

"The award seal is fake."
The award seal is a PNG image. What exactly can be fake or "real" about a PNG image?
We never claimed winners would receive a physical, solid gold sticker for their book.

"You're selling award seals for $15. Everyone is an award winner, you just have to buy the award to win."
These accusations are completely false. We are not selling award seals. We never have and we never will.
Nowhere on the sales page does it say we're selling award seals.
$14.95 was the initial entry fee (which was later raised to $19.95) for the contest. Award winners were to receive an award seal for free.
Stating "everyone is a winner" is also false. We have 1 winner per month per genre.
Obviously, those spreading these false accusations and outright lies didn't even visit the website or the contest's page.

"The nomination email came from a mailing list. Only scammers use mailing lists!"
It takes a lot of time to contact people one by one. Even authors use mailing services to contact all their readers in one go rather than sitting for days sending individual emails.

"The authors you say won an award don't have it on their book covers. It's a scam! They didn't really win!"
It is up to the award-winners if and how they choose to use our award seal.
All we do is inform the winners. Whether or not they choose to use our award seal is up to them.
We showed 3 examples of how awards CAN be used on a book's cover for illustration purposes.

"Their free contests prove they're scammers. It's a trick, a way to make you like their magazine."
Interesting. So we're a "scammer" if we charge entry fees and we're a scammer if we don't charge entry fees.
Hard to please everyone. At least our poetry contest winners were happy when they won our free-to-enter contests.

"They say you were nominated but have to pay to be nominated."
Authors nominated were not required to pay anything to be nominated.
Some nominated authors posted the picture of our trophy statute they were nominated for and used it for their marketing without paying to enter our contest. They didn't have to pay to be nominated.
If they did not want to enter our contest, they did not have to. No one was forced to enter.
Those who wished to have a chance to win the awards paid the low entry fee and entered their book.

"Your contest is a scam. You are stealing people's money."
Some authors think our contest and magazine is a scam due to the marketing email they received about being nominated.
Our contest was a normal book contest with a low entry fee.
Many contests have entry fees. Whether or not the marketing email was misleading or annoying is another matter but that does not turn our entire magazine and contest into a scam.

"There is no submission page! It's a scam!"
Due to a PayPal IPN issue, clients who purchased an entry were not automatically redirected to the contest submission page. Moreover, after many people reported us as spammers, our confirmation emails no longer reached our clients' inboxes.


We have been dealing for the past days with hundreds of support tickets.
Each of our clients has been given the URL to the submission page where they successfully managed to submit their work, while we worked on fixing the IPN and form issue. It was only today that we realized what the issue was after PayPal sent us the email you see us above.

There is a contest submission page. People have been using it to submit their work.
These allegations that there is no submission page are false.

"Your stealing money! People can enter the same contest for free on another page on your site."
Someone claimed our Best Story Award contest (which is a full-length story/book contest) is the exact same contest as our free-to-enter short fiction story contest. These two contests are completely different. One is for books the other for short fiction stories up to 2,000 words. Seemingly, this person did not visit the contest page or bother verifying facts.

"Stop trying to pretend you're a literary agency!"
This comment which was posted on our "List of 20 Top Literary Agents Representing Fiction Authors" really surprised us.
The article is a resource listing 20 top literary agents with contacts to them or links to their websites.
Nowhere on or off our site did we ever claim to be a literary agency in any form or manner. We are not a literary agency. We are a magazine.

"Scammers always put "NY" in their name. It's a red alert flag."
NY is one of the biggest publishing centers. We had no idea the city/state's name has a reputation as a scammer. That person should perhaps inform the NY Times to change their name and branding as well.

"The reviews you quote from authors are fake! They didn't enter your contest. You're using them to bait others."
The authors who were featured on our sales page were all indeed awarded the "Best Story Award" by our magazine.
Yes, they did not pay to enter this contest. They submitted their book for review to our magazine on their own accord at some point during 2017.
We awarded them this honor because we believe their book is great and they deserve the award.
We have a right to award an award to anyone we want to.
We quoted exactly what they said in reply to our email in which we told them they won our award.
We did not quote anything which they did not say. We did not invent, modify, or add anything to what they said.

"On the PayPal receipt, it says Goodwin Media Group not NY Literary Magazine! Scaaaaam!"
Yes, the magazine is run under the umbrella of Goodwin Media Group (GMG). Many websites are owned by companies which have different names than the actual website domain name. We informed our customers on the thank you page after payment that they would see GMG on their PayPal receipt.

"The quotes on your page are fake."
We have a section talking in general about how winning an award can help an author.
We quoted what various reliable sources such as The Independent Publisher and others have to say about how winning an award or being placed in contests is helpful for an author's career, for their credibility, and for getting more sales etc.
We quoted true facts about winning awards and contests in general. We did not lie and say this is what they said about our contest.

"Your anthologies are fake."
There is nothing fake about our anthologies. They are filled with original art and with poems written by real people who submitted their work to our mag and were overjoyed about being published. We even offer the anthologies in a free-to-read digital format.

Since the founding of the NY Literary Magazine, we have worked long and hard to turn it into a beloved and respectable magazine. We worked hard to design each of our free-to-read anthologies, read through thousands of free poetry and short story submissions, write articles to help authors, provide useful resources, and grow our readership. We did all this work in the past years at our own cost.

"You hired an Asian provider. Ha! That proves you're scammer."
American marketing agencies charge extremely high fees.
Many companies outsource their marketing to Asia/India.
There are tens of thousands of Asian marketing companies on sites such as Upwork.com
It is very hard to know who is good or not.
Simply hiring an Asian marketing company does not make us a scammer.
If an author hires a Phillipino assistant for $300/mo to answer emails, this doesn't make the author a scammer either.

"The poor Asians! All the scammers always blame them."
We are not the only company who has had bad experiences with outsourced providers.
It's a matter of luck.
Yes, we know we made a mistake by not monitoring all the marketing campaigns.
But that one wrongly worded email does not make us scammers.

A big apology to all the authors who are suffering due to the lies spread about them "buying" an award seal from us...

For two years, we've been running free-to-enter poetry and short story contests and publishing free-to-read digital magazines and print anthologies. We even spent time training and monitoring 20 interns who read through thousands of free poetry submissions this summer.

We made tens of writers around the world happy. Writers published by our magazine sent us heartwarming thank you notes. Some said being published is what gave them the strength to continue writing especially after receiving discouraging letters from agents and publishers they contacted.
Others from extremely poor countries (Nigeria, Botswana, India) were overjoyed to have an opportunity to submit their work for free to a magazine and to have their voices heard.
We featured writers of every nationality, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
Even our interns enjoyed working for us and were grateful for all the things they learned.

Since our anthologies are free, our poetry contests are free, and submissions to our magazine are free, we needed a way to sustain our magazine for the future, which is why we launched the Best Story Award contest.

We are completely devastated and shattered from the extent of hate mail, comments, messages, tweets, lies and false accusations that were posted online which have totally blackened our name and destroyed our magazine - all based on a single email with one wrongly-worded sentence.

It's shocking how many people have posted blatant lies which weren't based on any facts and how many more people have shared, retweeted, and quoted those lies without ever checking to see if it's true or at least visiting our website.

Worse still, it is truly horrible to see how cruel some humans can be.
Some unsuccessful, jealous authors are spending days contacting the fans of authors who won an award from us or received a book review, telling their fans lies in an attempt to ruin the author's reputation, turn their readers against them, destroy years of their hard work to build up their careers and readership, and ruin their lives for no reason and under the guise of "saving them from a scam".

We love our authors and feel terrible to hear what some of them are going through thanks to these misguided people!
This has been a heartbreaking Christmas.

We hope those people who spread the lies and worked so hard to destroy honest people's lives are now satisfied.
We have closed our contest. Refunded everyone who entered.
There will be no more free-to-enter contests. No more free-to-read anthologies.
No more articles. No more anything.

We had the heartbreaking task of firing our team of loyal, hard-working employees. 10 people are now jobless after Christmas.

Please leave the poor authors alone. They did nothing wrong by receiving a book review from our magazine or receiving an award from us. Stop ruining their lives for no reason. Go work on your book instead.

To all the rest of you, we wish you all the best success in your career and a happy life!

Sincerely,

The NY Literary Magazine Team

-

My input: how amazing is that? Very entertaining Christmas!

Mrs Julia Evans

Posts: 868
Registered: 05/22/16
Re: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 27, 2017 3:15 AM   in response to: Aaron James Fra... in response to: Aaron James Fra...
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Oh, yeah! Some of us got more than one on Christmas morning and then the same number of these e-mails today.

Check out kboards. Thousands of these must have gone out.

I bet we all felt really special for all of half a millisecond!

Aah well!

J
Aaron James Fra...

Posts: 791
Registered: 03/13/15
Re: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 27, 2017 3:22 AM   in response to: Mrs Julia Evans in response to: Mrs Julia Evans
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I'm thinking they've used two different mailing lists for these, since I didn't get the initial "please pay us for a worthless logo" email, but I did get this one. I must say, the vitriol and self-righteousness of the second email has been exceptionally fun! Who knew the power of a bunch of angry authors, to be able to shut down a small-time operation in only a day?
Mrs Julia Evans

Posts: 868
Registered: 05/22/16
Re: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 27, 2017 3:51 AM   in response to: Aaron James Fra... in response to: Aaron James Fra...
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Aaron James Francis wrote:
I'm thinking they've used two different mailing lists for these, since I didn't get the initial "please pay us for a worthless logo" email, but I did get this one. I must say, the vitriol and self-righteousness of the second email has been exceptionally fun! Who knew the power of a bunch of angry authors, to be able to shut down a small-time operation in only a day?

Although I didn't click on the link, I did go into the site to find that they were legitimate, but since I've had quite a few of these 'you are the chosen one!' type of e-mails, I didn't hang around for more than two minutes.

What I can't understand is why people would get so worked up over this! It's not like they were told they'd actually won something! The e-mail just said that they'd been nominated, and if they wanted to go forward to the contest, it would cost them $15.

To think that people have gone to such lengths to destroy the publication and troll authors who have either entered and won previous contests, or have written articles/testimonials for the site, I find utterly appalling.

If what the site has said is correct, and they've shut up shop, leaving 10 staff unemployed, I hope the trolls are truly proud of themselves. Totally unnecessary and completely OTT if you want my humble opinion.

J
Aaron James Fra...

Posts: 791
Registered: 03/13/15
Re: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 27, 2017 4:06 AM   in response to: Mrs Julia Evans in response to: Mrs Julia Evans
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Mrs Julia Evans wrote:
What I can't understand is why people would get so worked up over this!

I think there have been three reasons (that I could think of, at least):

1. This was unsolicited. I don't think anybody really enjoys being contacted by people looking to take money off of them.

2. It's preying on desperate authors. It's likely some out there would pay for this, in the hope that it somehow gets them recognition, and that feels like exploitation to me.

3. They're putting entry fees before merit. When it's an industry where so many of us have poured in our heart and soul for something we actively enjoy and take pride in, it feels slimy for something to come along and put up what they call in the gaming industry as "pay-to-win".

If what the magazine has said is true, that people have been harassing authors about this, then it's clearly way too far. Also, if their business has collapsed overnight because of this, then it's also unfortunate for those who have lost their jobs (note, they seem to employ more interns than actual staff, so it looks like their business was already tainted by cheap tactics). But I'm not entirely trusting of their word on this.
Diana Persaud

Posts: 2,696
Registered: 10/07/13
Re: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 27, 2017 6:28 AM   in response to: Aaron James Fra... in response to: Aaron James Fra...
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From what I understand, this is a fake company using the name of a reputable company. Look at the details .com (legit) vs .org (not the real company).

Plenty of scammers out there and it pays to be skeptical.

Edited by: Diana Persaud on Dec 27, 2017 6:28 AM
C. Gold

Posts: 1,037
Registered: 02/17/15
Re: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 27, 2017 6:42 AM   in response to: Mrs Julia Evans in response to: Mrs Julia Evans
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So why did people throw a fit over this email? First, it was unsolicited out of the blue. Second, it said they were nominated which implies a book was nominated, but they never said which one. Then people had to pay to enter even though they were nominated which quelled the initial excitement and began the questioning of whether this was legit or not. When people asked on social media or forums, the number of other authors 'nominated' blew up any idea that they were special. It became clear this was a company who bought emails from some lists and spammed them with this generic 'nominate' email to try and get people to pay for entry. Finally, the original email spelled the city name wrong and came from .org instead of the NY Mag's .com site so it looked like a scam, and was reported as such by numerous people. That caused a cascading failure with the Mag's website and it broke their Paypal to where it didn't pull up the submission form after people paid, making it look further like a scam. It escalated from there as people dug into this website and the lack of details they provided.

At first I thought the .com site was legit and the email from the .org site was a scam until I read more about it.

They say in their follow up email that they had to fire all ten of their employees. Yet, their full length story contest accepted 200 submissions in 11 categories. And the award would be based on merit. I'm a pretty rabid reader when I'm not sidetracked with author stuff, and I could maybe read 3-4 books a day if they were the shorter variety. So 120 books tops in a month? If I did nothing but eat, sleep, and read. This was going to be a monthly thing since waiting is hard. Clearly, the 10 employees they had wouldn't be able to read all these. So that means the judges would be picked from outside their small company.

So, how are the judges chosen? Who are they? I'm ok with them keeping the names confidential, but they should say how they picked these judges. Are they random interns that will work for under the price of each entry fee per book they read? Or are these 'winners' chosen from random dice rolls?

How are the 200 entrees per 11 genres divided up among the judges and are they whittled down to X number of finalists, and what is that number?

Also, they didn't specify the length of work qualified for submission. They said story, but never defined if it was short stories competing against novels or if they would break it down and have shorts vs shorts or not.

They didn't say how they would score the entries. Once again, is it interns just skimming them and making a best guess or is there any real criteria at work? When they notify the author will there be any attempt at scoring or will they just say yea or nae?

If this was truly an attempt to be legitimate, they should have looked at other prestigious awards to see what full disclosure looks like. I nominate and vote in the Hugo awards each year and there's complete disclosure about the different categories and how scoring is done. The RITA and Pulitzer also have details about qualified submissions and how the entries will be judged. There's no excuse for being vague when there are plenty of examples of well established and well known literary awards out there.

Also, they became hostile and unprofessional at the first sign of trouble. And, instead of owning up to the mistake, they pawned it off on a generic 'Asian company' that sent out 'nominate' instead of 'invite'. So all those people who initially got the unsolicited mail plus apparently a few others who didn't get the first mail also got a hostile defensive unprofessional follow up. I find their sob story about firing their ten employees the height of unprofessional behavior and the fact that they folded so quickly, makes me (and many others) think they are going to set up again as something else to try again. Also, their claim that people have spent DAYS trolling authors is untrue when the mail went out Christmas day and this began blowing up shortly after. Frankly, I don't believe a word being said by them at this point. I only hope everyone who paid in gets their money back.
Aaron James Fra...

Posts: 791
Registered: 03/13/15
Re: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 27, 2017 7:01 AM   in response to: Diana Persaud in response to: Diana Persaud
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Diana Persaud wrote:
From what I understand, this is a fake company using the name of a reputable company. Look at the details .com (legit) vs .org (not the real company).

Plenty of scammers out there and it pays to be skeptical.

Edited by: Diana Persaud on Dec 27, 2017 6:28 AM


I'm not too sure that this is a fake using the mask of a legit, though. The apology email was sent from a .com email address, so it looks like the .org was handed over to this "Asian company", then they went and sent out the apology afterwards through their own account (using a different mailing list, which would explain why some got the 2nd but not the 1st).

But the weirdest thing has been that there's no mention of any of this on their website or social media. Even if this is a fake controversy, surely the company it's mimicking would at least mention that it wasn't them? And if it isn't fake, then the company should still be making some sort of statement on their sites. The silence beyond this weirdly misdirected email feels strange.
petemorin

Posts: 784
Registered: 07/13/11
Re: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 27, 2017 8:59 AM   in response to: Aaron James Fra... in response to: Aaron James Fra...
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FWIW, I’ve been reading the digital version of this magazine off and on for 5 years and there’s nothing scammy about it whatsoever. It’s a very good, FREE ezine and (if my memory serves correctly) the people listed on the masthead have real creds.

I didn’t get a “nomination” from the Asian marketing company and missed all the uproar, but they’re only one of about 100 legit sites that charge a (modest) “reading fee,” and not for everything.
writerbn

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Registered: 05/12/12
Re: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 27, 2017 1:06 PM   in response to: C. Gold in response to: C. Gold
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I missed all the fun--never received either e-mail.

Then again, Gmail has excellent spam filters, so it's quite likely that I did but never noticed.
Moshe Ben-Or

Posts: 577
Registered: 12/28/15
Re: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 27, 2017 4:51 PM   in response to: Aaron James Fra... in response to: Aaron James Fra...
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Never got either email. Probably stopped by the spam filter. Anyone actually willing to pay a "reading fee" deserves what they get. You know what they say about fools and money.
C. Gold

Posts: 1,037
Registered: 02/17/15
Re: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 27, 2017 5:25 PM   in response to: Moshe Ben-Or in response to: Moshe Ben-Or
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Oh, I didn't get email from them either. I'm too insignificant. I just read the initial thread on kboards then Googled the NY mag name and found some very interesting info from a blog that raised the issues I mentioned. Also, someone said the web domain was purchased in 2016 which also added to the feeling of ick.
angelakulig

Posts: 1,054
Registered: 04/09/11
Re: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 27, 2017 9:30 PM   in response to: Aaron James Fra... in response to: Aaron James Fra...
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I got the original and this apology on two different e-mail accounts. I'm never impressed by fake writing awards, I am even less impressed when they attempt to target me. However, I had ignored them in favor of Holiday fun and came back to quite a thunderstorm of crapola.
pdsinger1

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Re: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 27, 2017 9:31 PM   in response to: Aaron James Fra... in response to: Aaron James Fra...
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The lack of professionalism behind this email is astounding.

Here's what Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware had to say: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2017/12/how-not-to-promote-writing-contest-ny.html
jm14

Posts: 2,651
Registered: 10/06/11
Re: Did anyone else get this massive apology/middle-finger email from NY mag?
Posted: Dec 28, 2017 1:51 AM   in response to: Aaron James Fra... in response to: Aaron James Fra...
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How in God's name could anyone stay awake long enough to read through that thing?
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