Protected media truly stink

I’m so fed up with protected media of all kinds making me spend time doing shit that I shouldn’t have to do. This is what I encountered today for the hundredth time (less, but it feels so):

Zinio ReaderScreenSnapz002

Every time this happens, you have to uninstall Zinio, delete its prefs, clear up a cache somewhere, then reinstall and reauthenticate it. Yes, I’ve got the routine documented, but man, this isn’t right. So I wrote them this letter, with absolutely no hope of them giving a damn:


Really, time for you to get a grip. I’ve had MacWorld on Zinio for a couple of years now, and I’m growing so sick and tired of this 22-M error you never seem to fix, that I’m almost prepared to give up on subscribing to MacWorld anymore. You really need to fix this pronto. Show that you care, for once.

Every time anything at all changes on my machine, I have to manually go uninstall all of Zinio and reinstall it again, just to make it stop accusing me of being a thief. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to do this. I have it installed on two machines, a Pro and a MacBook, and if that is too much for you, well, it’s going to be goodbye at next renewal.

I’m copying MacWorld too, since I think they should be aware of why they’re losing this particular subscriber at least. I’d sincerely suggest they’ve got a better chance of keeping paying subscribers by distributing unprotected pdf’s, or at least pdf’s protected by somebody else than Zinio.


— Martin

PS: I could have added “You’re worse than Microsoft”, but that would be overdoing it.

PPS: No, I haven’t read the MacWorld issue. I’ll try to find the energy to go through that crap later, so I can actually see it, but I can’t keep myself from wondering if it’s worth the trouble. Very bad sign.

Update Oct 11: after reinstalling on my desktop Mac Pro and redownloading the last issue of MacWorld, I got this dialog box instead:


I mean, seriously, reading a mag is supposed to be relaxing, but this??!

Update Oct 16: Got another message from Zinio support telling me to do the exact same thing their previous message told me to do. That is, download the uninstaller, uninstall, download the installer, install, authenticate, hope for best, try. Since they sent that message twice, I figured I could repeat the procedure just for kicks, and sure enough, this time it worked. Um, no, actually not. I discovered that the issue file I redownloaded from Zinio according to the instructions I got the last time was corrupt, with a bad filename and extension. In other words, when Zinio told me “you do not have rights to this publication on this computer” it actually meant “this file is corrupt”. Would you have guessed? So I copied the file I had on my MacBook to the Mac Pro, and then it worked. Except it took another hour or so until I could read the MacWorld issue due to this problem:


In other words, if the Zinio server is down anytime the reader wants to verify your status, which is the first time you open it and whenever it feels unsure of itself, you’re out of luck yet again.

Right, now I can finally read the November issue of MacWorld on my portable and my desktop. Am I happy? Not really. As I already said, reading a mag is supposed to be relaxing. I’m prepared to pay for convenience. But all I’m getting for my money is aggravation. I’m not going to extend my subscription anymore, hoping instead that the so far mythical Apple iTablet will revolutionize this market and bring something much more useful and pleasant. But if it doesn’t, I fear the end is near for DRM’ed online publications.

6 thoughts on “Protected media truly stink”

  1. Martin:

    I work at Zinio and oversee the customer support team. I would be happy to assist you in getting to the bottom of this problem you have been experiencing.

    Could you send me an email with your contact information for your account? You can use the email I used to post here, or the email address (I will see it either way).

    I want to make sure we have the best information possible on your situation since we use feedback from our customers to help us identify any issues that need fixing, as well as to improve the customer experience over time. I look forward to hearing from you.

    David Cobb

  2. Hello Martin,

    We’d like to help. Your satisfaction is very important to us! However, we were unable to locate your service request. Please give us a call at 888-946-4666 so that we can help resolve the trouble that you’re having.

    We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards,

    Zak Lance
    Customer Support
    Zinio, LLC.

    1. David and Zak,

      Sorry it took so long for me to approve and respond, but I’ve been away from my desk this week. The issue ID I got was: 41518.85508. It was responded to with the usual uninstalling/reinstalling and after gathering my energy for a day, I did it and now it runs again. Temporarily, I assume.

      The real solution would be for you to come up with a solution that does *not* involve having to go through this uninstall/reinstall mambo as often as now. I’d really, truly, appreciate it. I think that as a paying customer I should not be subjected to more pain and obstacles than someone who just gets ahold of a pirated copy, and that is certainly the case today. The money I pay should give me *more* convenience, not less.

  3. The uninstall/reinstall worked for my portable, but for the first time ever, it didn’t work for my Mac Pro. All I got after redownloading the latest issue of MacWorld was: “License verification failed; you do not have rights to this publication on this computer”. No options are given. Nothing. Statement of fact, SOL. You know what, I’ll update the blog entry above, so I can include the screenshot of the dialog.

  4. I have exactly the same problem and have uninstall/reinstall hundreds of times.

    There seems to be a universal problem with this type of error.Can Zinio not fix their code???

  5. Peter, there’s a new version now, 3.0, and it may be better in this respect. At least, I haven’t had to reinstall it again yet. On the other hand, I’ve been so turned off from this whole thing I’m not going to extend my MacWorld subscription anyway. I think they need to realize that content protection like this may crimp piracy somewhat, but also diminishes their regular sales. We can always dream.

    One can only hope the so far mythical Apple tablet will replace all the Zinios of this world. Apple usually gets it right.

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