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Oct 6, 2010 09:43 AM

Cooks' Illustrated eliminating subscription-less registration?

On the Cooks' Country website, you can be registered without being either a print or online subscriber. That free registration allows you to use their bulletin boards and a few other features. As I recall, Cooks' Illustrated used to have the same thing. I no longer subscribe to either magazine. When I went to the CI site today, it would not let me log in, the reason being "account cancelled". I saw no place for free registration. Clicking on the "join our website" link at the very bottom of the page takes you to a 14-day trial membership page. You can still register for free on the websites of the two TV shows. But the CI website doesn't seem to have anything to offer unless you pay to use it.

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  1. Yet another brilliant marketing move on the part of the Kimballhead. NOT.

    1. We pay for access to quality print sources(e.g., magazines and newspapers), so why not quality online content? Welcome to the new reality. Who said it was going to free? Do you work for free?

      5 Replies
      1. re: Kagemusha

        I rarely pay for online content, especially if I can get the same quality content just as good or better elsewhere (like here, for instance).

        1. re: Kagemusha

          I agree that places have every right to charge for content and if you don't like it, don't visit the Web site. But I don't think CI magazine subscribers should have to pay the same amount as non-mag-subscribers. That's what bothered me and I think what bothered a lot of others about their system. Not to mention the whole CD-club mentality that dominates their cookbooks, you can't buy just one cookbook without getting others that you don't want.

          I think it should be one or the other, subscribe to the mag and get free or discounted access to the site or don't subscribe and pay the full fee on the site.

          1. re: ribeye621

            I agree with you, there. I'm an online "subscriber" and I get the entire contents of every magazine that way, BUT I can't read it in the tub. <g> My brother-in-law, a faithful print subscriber from CI's beginnings, was gravely insulted that he couldn't access the website. It should be open to any who pay for subscriptions.

            1. re: Beckyleach

              You are absolutely correct. It should be open to any one who pays for subscriptions. I bet if I searched, I could find a lot of their recipes for free. I stopped the subscriptions years ago, on both of their magazines. Quite pricey....but if I was able to access their website I would start them up again. I take copious notes by stopping my DVR, and get the recipes anyways...

            2. re: ribeye621

              Agreed. But "free registration" is becoming an oxymoron, rather like "free gift," since it will soon mean "paid subscription. Agreed, too, that not allowing paid-up print subscribers access to potentially richer online content is daft. Very soon, "free content" will be worth about what you pay for it--nothing.3G/4G tablet devices here now and coming soon will give you huge access but at a modest price. Live it up now 'cause "free" won't be an operative word in many publications' business plans for long. Why should it be?

          2. I have subscribed to (and enjoyed) Cook's Country. I thought it was just me being lame about navigating their Web site when I couldn't access all content. I just couldn't fathom that a subscriber wouldn't have unlimited access to the online "supplementary" content. As much as I enjoy ATK, Cook's Country, and the Cook's Illustrated issues of my Mom's that I've perused/borrowed, I'm ready to wash my hands of Mr. Kimball and Co. at this point. Got a sample issue of Cuisine at Home, and am considering giving that one a lookie-lou for a while. I am not expecting to access all the "good stuff" online for free, but I'm not ready to pay for both print and online content of the same entity.

            1. While I agree that it's no pleasure to pay out, I'm among those who subscribe both to print and online CI (though I am not going for their new editor's choice). I might cut it some day soon, because after close to ten years now, I am learning less all the time, because I've already read so much about basic recipes.

              But I don't really fault their business model. I think of it almost like Public Radio: "Is this something I want to exist?" If yes, then I shell out some dough, because it will go away if I don't do so.

              I doubt that Cooks Illustrated lies on the highly exploitative end of our current economic situation. Are those folks fat-cats?

              Edit: All that said, I'm not sure it's wise of them to eliminate all access to their site unless you're a paid subscriber. Now also with their "Editor's Choice" thing, I'm pulling back.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bada Bing

                >>>>>>>Are those folks fat-cats?<<<<<<<<<<

                CK drives a Maserati and wears Italian shoes.

              2. I was a member of the Cooks Illustrated Bulletin Board for a long time, years. We really were able to gather much information from this board. In time I even recognized the superb cooks and was thrilled with all the explanations they gave for simple to complicated recipes. We found out what cooking utensils were greatest, what cookware sizes, shapes were best to buy so we did not waste money, coffee makers on and on. I probably bought a lot of my All Clad based on reviews, pressure cookers mid range priced based on reviews and contents of all types for the kitchen, everything from ulu, cutting boards, you name it based on discussions that were available within the group. I probably was on the CIBB weekly and maybe two or three times a week searching for all types of help. I was sort of in home bound for 3 years too through spinal surgeries and I really enjoyed the bulletin board through all those weeks and months and bought a lot of my forever items for the kitchen during that time while I could research through the bulletin board members and the Cooks Illustrated that is available on line now only if you pay could be brought up back then FREE if you had a magazine subscription. I still receive the magazine but it is just not the same without having both magazine and bulletin board AND the pay for now CI online. I am not even for certain whether I will renew my CI past 2014 Fall. I think when they took the bulletin board off, it just was not as exciting as many brought up certain date (year and month) issues for each of us to look at for certain subjects. I finally just took about 5 full (6 issues a year)saved magazines collections to my local library and donated because there is not a board to reference anything in them any longer free. I am into kitchen shears now and wish so much the CI board was active. I have just had to go by reviews on line from places that you can purchase from and thankfully I depend on our group on the Chowhound more often now. Chowhound saved the day back then many times and now they are tops for getting information as BB is gone and nowhere else reliable but the Chowhound. I tried too to get on BB two years I think back or so when all of a sudden I could not get on one morning. I could not sign up any longer on CIBB even to start new even. It was fun while it lasted.