• Let's Talk About Payments

    Recently, I participated in a lively discussion with a prospective client around customer payment options. I listed dozens of Advantage features (more on this later) and I was struck by the client’s uncertainty about which features they wanted to support. The discussion changed from what-can-Advantage-do? to what-should-our-business-be-doing? The marketing director wanted to test all options, the customer experience manager wanted frictionless payments, the finance director wanted to reduce fees and cash liability and the operations manager wanted simplified processing. The client realized they had not fully appreciated the complexity and impact of payment options.

    In the past five years, there has been an explosion of studies on consumer payments and technological preferences. The …



  • Unsettling Times

    Unsettling times. On so many levels.

    The last year has been a challenging one for millions of people. If we look at broad strokes, bigotry, racism, poverty, violence, and hatred all raised their ugly heads at points during the year in the US and abroad. Across the Americas we witnessed oppressive regimes cracking down on their opponents violently and fatally. Radical, extremist groups killed and wounded across the globe in various attacks. Greed flourished. Power dictated. Scandal abounded. It has been a year that proved that humans can really be horrible to one another.

    A bit closer to home, many of us experienced the difficulties of our human condition: friends and relatives were diagnosed with terminal illnesses, addictions were revealed, mental illness identified, and loved ones …



  • Advantage fullService

    For nearly 40 years, AdvantageCS has offered the most powerful subscription management solution on the market, ideal for medium to large publishers and membership organizations. From print and digital subscriptions to book sales, from products to services, plus training, conferences, events, membership and donations, Advantage manages everything a company might offer. Plus, it’s constantly evolving to meet the latest needs of the rapidly changing business environment.

    Now you can harness the power of Advantage without the need to manage it yourself, with Advantage fullService.

    Hosted in the cloud on MS Azure, Advantage fullService is implemented and managed by our staff. System administration, cycle-ends, invoicing, reminders, setup, selects---we handle it all.

    Along with our fully …



  • Congratulations to Phil Montgomery--Soon-To-Be Retiree

    Fortunately for AdvantageCS, Phil Montgomery didn’t like teaching high school. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in math, Phil took a teaching job where he not only taught math, but economics and sociology as well. However, after a few years, he concluded that teaching was not for him and returned to the university to get his MBA.

    Phil then worked at a CPA firm for a year and a half. He found that the software aspect of the business was more to his liking than straight accounting, and when the company needed someone who could speak the language of finance and was also comfortable dealing face-to-face with clients, Phil fit the bill.

    Feeling that his future success might well be in software, Phil then moved to T & B Computing (forerunner of AdvantageCS). …



  • Addressing Expanding Regulations for Auto-Renewal Consent

    Automatic renewal arrangements are popular and beneficial for both companies and consumers. Customers are saved the trouble of having to continually take actions to keep their subscription active, while companies improve their retention rates and forecasting abilities.

    However, in the last few years, the legal environment has become more restrictive on automatic renewal arrangements. There’s been a push at national and state levels (Vermont being the most recent state) to better inform and protect customers from accidentally entering into long-term subscription service agreements, as well as enabling them to cancel out. It’s important for companies to be aware of, and plan for, complying with these regulations.

    Fortunately, we have experience handling auto-renewal features, having …



  • Congratulations to Dan Sneed: Soon-to-Be Retiree

    For much of his 29 ½ years at AdvantageCS, Dan Sneed has been the go-to guy when it comes to data conversions. When he began working on them in the early '90s (see photo), each conversion was custom to the particular client. Dan remembers that it was Phil Montgomery (another soon-to-be retiree) that came up with the idea of CVT transfer tables and Dan was part of the team that developed them. A lot of the design and processes are still used today.

    Dan can’t even hazard a guess at how many conversions he has done over the years, but it’s got to be a pretty big number. He has enjoyed the variety---he says that every client is a new challenge and he has found it rewarding to complete each successful conversion.

    In addition to data conversions, Dan has worked on such varied areas as …



  • Oui, Cider Now Speaks French

    Congratulations to Martin Media, whose five web ecommerce boutiques recently went live on Cider, our eCommerce platform, all entirely in French:

    • Boutique La Classe

    • Boutique L’Assmat

    • Boutique Journal de l’Animation

    • Boutique Journal des Psychologues

    • Boutique Bois

    As our first non-English Cider implementation, the project involved some unique challenges. These included adjustments for rate-includes-tax, handling accent marks and currency display, plus translating Cider itself. The Cider implementation was closely linked with an upgrade of the core Advantage application.

    The Martin Media project team included Julien Krier, Philippe Canus, Jérémie Boisselier and Stéphane Sorin, and involved the entire organization for testing the new release.

    On the AdvantageCS side, John …



  • AdvantageCS Attains Microsoft Gold Level Partner Status in Cloud Platform Competency

    AdvantageCS is proud to announce that we have achieved Microsoft Gold Level Partner Status in the Cloud Platform Competency. The requirements for such a status are stringent, and only the top Microsoft partners achieve Gold.

    The Microsoft Gold competency process requires that a number of partner employees successfully complete technical exams to become Microsoft Certified Professionals on Azure technologies, and the company must meet certain performance levels. In addition, the partner must provide comprehensive customer references from successful cloud projects. Becoming a Gold Level Partner reinforces to our clients that AdvantageCS is committed to a high standard of excellence and professionalism.

    “The AdvantageCS Cloud Services team is committed to providing top-notch solutions …



  • Sharing and Showing in New Orleans

    The Advantage Users Group (AUG) chose New Orleans, Louisiana for its 2019 gathering. The conference was held at the Crown Plaza Hotel, in the middle of the French Quarter. More than 50 participants from 16 companies attended the event for three days of sharing and showing. As usual, the AUG steering committee did a great job making the event run smoothly.

    Dan Heffernan kicked off the meeting with his annual presentation of publishing trends and AdvantageCS news. Among the trends, the pivot to subscription revenue (advertising revenue has dropped significantly over the 10 last years) wasn’t new to the audience but factors such as paywalls, retention strategies, and AI technology are definitely changing the landscape. Relationships with social media are also adapting quickly, as Google and …



  • "The Power of Magazine Media"

    Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting Linda Thomas Brooks, President & CEO of the Association of Magazine Media (MPA) at our company headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan.As the leader of one of publishing’s primary professional associations, Linda has a unique perspective on the state of the industry. She took time out of her busy schedule to share this perspective with us.

    While the MPA represents magazine content in all its forms, Linda focused on print media. She began by acknowledging the negativity and poor press that began several years ago regarding print. Some refer to print as “legacy media”---but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Print media, including magazines, have a rich legacy of being trusted resources for readers around the world. Unlike other forms of content, …



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