NEO Magazine Forum - Secrets of An Admin

Muu_Puklip

Brigade Leader
Hello,

Some of you will already know me from the NEO forum. I am the same Muu_Puklip as the one who was a Moderator and then an Admin on there for a fair few years until I stepped down in February.

I'll be around here for a while to answer any questions anyone might have about NEO and the NEO forum if anyone has any. :D
 

Muu_Puklip

Brigade Leader
How NEO has been letting the community down for years

It's about time I revealed a few things about NEO.

Being an admin on the NEO forum for years I ended up learning a fair bit about NEO. Unfortunately most of it is not good. I'll just stick to one part for now.

A few years back we started to get posts on the NEO forum about Tokyo Toys selling fake goods. I looked into it rather than just assume one way or the other.

Found out that yes, Tokyo Toys did sell counterfeit goods. I even found posts from the guy that owns Tokyo Toys on the MCM Expo forum admitting it.

I explained that I knew about Tokyo Toys selling fake goods to Gemma Cox, the editor of NEO back in 2010. I advised her to distance NEO from Tokyo Toys. Nothing happened. NEO continued to carry adverts from Tokyo Toys that showed counterfeit goods in them. NEO also continued to actively promote Tokyo Toys through reviews (at least one of which was for counterfeit goods) and the NEO awards.

Since then there have been numerous instances of people raising the problem of Tokyo Toys selling counterfeit goods and ripping off customers with NEO on the NEO forum. Every time Gemma Cox (who is the one behind the NEO Staff account on the NEO forum) brushed it off. She wouldn't even bother to investigate. NEO even kept entering Tokyo Toys for the NEO awards despite it causing complaints on the forum each time. The only conclusion that a reasonable person could draw was that the people working for NEO did not care about the customers and only cared about promoting their 'friends' at Tokyo Toys.

Eventually I found out from someone on the forum the reason why NEO was deliberately turning a blind eye to Tokyo Toys advertising counterfeit goods in the mag. It was money. When challenged about it Gemma Cox admitted it in a post on the NEO forum. She said it was either take money from Tokyo Toys or take money from chatline adverts. Anyone with any sense would take the chatline ads. At least they aren't taking a dump on NEO's customers by ripping them off with fakes.

Since I stepped down as an admin on the NEO forum back in February I have had discussions with one of the directors of Uncooked Media, the company that publishes NEO. It became apparent that no-one within UM/NEO has ever bothered to look into what they have been promoting and carrying adverts for. They don't even want to. The only conclusion that I can draw is that UM/NEO don't care about their customers or the wider community at all.
 
Re: How NEO has been letting the community down for years

Muu_Puklip said:
Eventually I found out from someone on the forum the reason why NEO was deliberately turning a blind eye to Tokyo Toys advertising counterfeit goods in the mag. It was money.

A few years have gone by and I have become, alas, a bit more cynical. The root of all evil is money as they say - and I believe that to be true. If only companies and the people that ran them were more transparent or at least try to be morally upright - rather than rip off their customers for a quick buck.

It's a shame to hear that you left NEO because of the corruption behind the scenes but you did the right thing Muu. It really goes to show that some people just don't care about the ramifications and it's all about the profit.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
That certain shop seems to sponsor a lot of things, and thus wields a lot of power as there aren't exactly many alternative sponsors queueing up to associate themselves with anime publications these days. If MCM Expo cleared out every company which was selling counterfeit goods the halls would be almost empty; it's very depressing to see. Especially since a lot of anime watchers justify not buying DVDs with buying merchandise instead, then get suckered into buying counterfeit merchandise ^^;

R
 

Muu_Puklip

Brigade Leader
Thank you neptune2venus. That's much appreciated.

Sad to say that there are two more examples of NEO letting down the community from your post Rui.

Some of the legit shops that might have prospered and advertised in NEO haven't been able to because NEO don't run a level playing field. The legit shops can't make the sort of money that Tokyo Toys do from selling counterfeit goods so they don't have the cash to spare to afford advert space. So Tokyo Toys remain high profile despite NEO knowing they shouldn't be giving them anything other than stick for selling fakes whilst the good retailers and the community as a whole suffer.

The other one is NEO's habitual turning of the blind eye to what goes on at the MCM Expo. There's no way that Gemma Cox doesn't know that there have been complaints about fakes being sold at the Expo because she has personally deleted posts from the NEO forum about just that subject. So why has NEO never investigated or printed anything other than glowing praise for the Expo in the mag? Instead of informing the readers and raising awareness of the problems around the Expo NEO just keeps on letting down the community time after time.
 

Muu_Puklip

Brigade Leader
I may as well give the icing on the cake.

One of the review writers for NEO once told me that they were unhappy that the score they had given a DVD had been increased by the editor after they had submitted it. When they asked why it had been increased they were told that it was because it was an important series for the company (distributor) and they had insisted it get a high score.

The same writer also told me that they hadn't received a review copy for something so they had to download and watch a fansub and write the review off of that.

So much for the integrity of NEO's reviews.
 

Muu_Puklip

Brigade Leader
The link contains a copy of the email discussions that I had with one of the Uncooked Media directors. The most recent email is at the top and the oldest is at the bottom. I have received no more replies from them since the 1st this month when I sent the email which is at the top.

There are a bunch of other emails I have not included as they were mostly drafts of messages for discussion between myself, Manning, and kuro_neko before I sent the final versions to the UM guy.

Real names, email addresses, and the UM guy's phone number have been removed or hidden for obvious reasons.

http://pastebin.com/zg6aEfWy
 

lionsan

Hikikomori
The way other new Magazines are struggling (has the new issue come out yet?) and the general state of the economy I'm just glad Neo is still representing the Anime/Asian film market on the high street.

I find it hard to believe that Tokyo Toys and other legit shops can actually afford to have real physical shops, surely ebay everyones biggest competitor. I wonder how long before it all disappears up some back alley of the internet.

Muu_Puklip I'm really surprised that anyone would want to see those creepy chatline adverts return.
 

chaos

The Boss
Muu_Puklip said:
Found out that yes, Tokyo Toys did sell counterfeit goods. I even found posts from the guy that owns Tokyo Toys on the MCM Expo forum admitting it.
....
At least they aren't taking a dump on NEO's customers by ripping them off with fakes.
If they admit it's counterfeit is it really ripping off customer? Just wondering....
I won't take the side or either NEO or Tokyo Toys. They are what they are and if you don't like them, don't support them OR promote them.

IMHO - the biggest issue is also the fact that it is almost impossible to get official merch of anything from Japan. 2 months after the show's airing and all the merch immediately disappears from stores and you can only find it in really small specialised stores if you are lucky.

The market in here is not big enough for anyone to license things from Japan and use in Merch for instance. Agree or Disagree, what Tokyo Toys do is go to "alternative" outlets to get the stuff people want.

So whenever this discussion comes to mind, I remember of a scene from "Kamikaze Girls"

"Ichigo *show number with hands*: Nobody sells a Versace jacket for **** yen?

Momoko: It is a fake, after all

Ichigo: Fake or not, it's still Versace!"

What is MyM approach to this? Anyone who bought any MyM can tell me that they don't take ads from Tokyo Toys?
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
Ian reported that MyM has stopped running Tokyo Toys ads because Square-Enix made a complaint. I don't find it that hard to get merchandise from Japan, and now we have streaming we're not a decade out of sync any more. There's no excuse for making profits from the creativity of other people without compensating them in my opinion so I make sure to discourage all of my friends from even giving Tokyo Toys a second glance.

R
 

chaos

The Boss
Rui said:
Ian reported that MyM has stopped running Tokyo Toys ads because Square-Enix made a complaint. I don't find it that hard to get merchandise from Japan, and now we have streaming we're not a decade out of sync any more. There's no excuse for making profits from the creativity of other people without compensating them in my opinion so I make sure to discourage all of my friends from even giving Tokyo Toys a second glance.

R
Kudos to MyM for doing it.

As for merchandise, I reckon both you and me have a very different experience from most people. And your experience about getting merchandise from Japan differs an awful lot from my own experience as you're able to read and speak. I've got family living there the often send some stuff I ask them. But they are not Tokyo-based and they are not internet-savvy, so if I can't find the things I want on yesasia.com or amazon.jp, I have to rely on my family there to get something for me and more often then not, they can't find it "because that's an old show". Bear in mind that there's not really a huge gap. Last thing I managed to get this way was a Rurouni Kenshin OST which my brother in law managed to find in Tokyo, on one of his business trips. So, if they can't manage to find what I want this way, I end up without the goods.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to justify piracy and counterfeits, but avoiding these is hardly the attitude of most people.

This reply reminded me that I've been waiting for a version of Piano no Mori that I could understand for years, but I haven't checked in a while. Kaze has released that in French last year, while I wasn't looking - 15 euro with the OST <3
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
Not being internet-savvy these days is a big problem. I don't have any CD shops in my town, so even if I wanted something popular I'd have to travel to a city or order online, and if the CD was even remotely rare it would pretty much be London or specialist stores only. Japan is pretty similar, I find.

You're so lucky to have family there, though! If I had anyone there they'd find themselves enslaved reshipping boxes and making convenience store payments for me every week :D

R
 

chaos

The Boss
Rui said:
Not being internet-savvy these days is a big problem. I don't have any CD shops in my town, so even if I wanted something popular I'd have to travel to a city or order online, and if the CD was even remotely rare it would pretty much be London or specialist stores only. Japan is pretty similar, I find.

You're so lucky to have family there, though! If I had anyone there they'd find themselves enslaved reshipping boxes and making convenience store payments for me every week :D

R
I know right? But anyway, my point was that official merchandise goes out of circulation pretty quickly, after something is not airing anymore. For instance, I wonder how easy it is to be Bleach merch now that the series is over and once the manga ends, how long before nothing is available anymore.
 

Muu_Puklip

Brigade Leader
joanne_chan said:
Thanks for your inside story. As a member at the time of NEO forum, I did appreciate your integrity.
Thank you.

chaos said:
If they admit it's counterfeit is it really ripping off customer? Just wondering...
What Mr Nguyen (the guy behind Tokyo Toys) said on the MCM Expo forum hasn't been repeated by him in his adverts in NEO. You can't generalise from an admission in one place to everywhere. If he and NEO were to be entirely open about it and state in the adverts which goods are counterfeit then the situation would be different. It would also mean that Tokyo Toys would be the subject of a lot more complaints to Trading Standards.

chaos said:
Agree or Disagree, what Tokyo Toys do is go to "alternative" outlets to get the stuff people want.
It's more that the supply creates the demand. Customers aren't having counterfeit stuff commissioned for themselves. Plenty of the UK customers aren't even aware when they buy counterfeit anime/manga related goods.

Do you follow the same line of thinking about giving people what they want when it comes to piracy? Would you be prepared to defend people going to "alternative" outlets (e.g. torrents/IRC bots/direct download sites/unlicensed streaming sites etc) to get hold of all of their anime and manga? If not, why the double standard?
 

chaos

The Boss
Muu_Puklip said:
Do you follow the same line of thinking about giving people what they want when it comes to piracy? Would you be prepared to defend people going to "alternative" outlets (e.g. torrents/IRC bots/direct download sites/unlicensed streaming sites etc) to get hold of all of their anime and manga? If not, why the double standard?

I'm not explaining myself correctly or I'm being misunderstood here.

I'm not defending Tokyo Toys, I'm defending Neo. To what extent is the carrier of advertisement to blame for the trading policies of an announcer? Shouldn't the complaints be directed to a Trading Association or a Consumer Rights group? Complaining to Neo or complaining to Expo seems absolutely vain to me. It won't change a thing.

####################################################################################################
And before I go to the next part of my post, I'd like to say I've put my AUKN Admin hat on and that I have Personal Friends and even Staff who works or collaborate to BOTH Neo and MyM, but regardless of this AUKN is in no way affiliated or influenced by any of these publications - we are of course linked to the anime, manga and cosplay industry, but OUR COMMITMENT AND LOYALTY LIES PRIMARILY ON THE FAN COMMUNITY.
####################################################################################################

You're welcome here if you are a true anime fan or a MyM representative, you're not welcome here if you are a MyM representative trying to pass as a true anime fan. Sorry for being blunt, but you questioned my morals first =)

This shows that you only posted once in a non-MyM topic. Makes me suspicious.
search.php?st=0&sk=t&sd=d&sr=posts&author_id=4400&start=15

This topic being created 10 days after this:
http://www.neomag.co.uk/forum/showthrea ... 777&page=8

and 3 days before this:
http://www.neomag.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=8827

None of this have been proved yet, and what I link over there is only SPECULATIONS at this point. And I hear good things and bad things about both Neo and MyM, but with AUKN and MY PERSONAL commitment to the community, none of this drama on the "Anime Magazine Wars" will be reported to fans, unless we have proper confirmation on the fact.

As a fan of anime I find inside stories on companies or organisations tactless on the internet, as its the preferred tool of trolls and it only creates misunderstandings.

####################################################################################################
Admin hat off.
####################################################################################################
 

Muu_Puklip

Brigade Leader
Ah, I appear to have pressed your buttons chaos. That's not what I am here for.

Firstly, I will answer your question with a question of my own. Would you be happy to have companies that sell counterfeit goods advertising here? If not, why not? That sense of commitment to the community the site and forum are serving? Commitment to the community is what kept me going as an admin on the NEO forum for years. It's why I am now here sharing what I know because it became obvious that UM/NEO did not share that commitment.

Secondly, I have no relationship and have had no contact with MyM at all unless you count my replies to Ian Wolf in the MyM thread on here. Frankly, if Mr Alozdi did do what UM have more or less bluntly accused him of doing I don't want to ever have anything to do with MyM.
 

chaos

The Boss
Muu_Puklip said:
Ah, I appear to have pressed your buttons chaos. That's not what I am here for.
Loads of buttons at once actually. But at this exact moment, I'm not wise at picking my fights. Too tired and stressed with site migration and the a stupid hosting company to keep tolerance levels at acceptable levels.

Muu_Puklip said:
Firstly, I will answer your question with a question of my own. Would you be happy to have companies that sell counterfeit goods advertising here? If not, why not? That sense of commitment to the community the site and forum are serving? Commitment to the community is what kept me going as an admin on the NEO forum for years. It's why I am now here sharing what I know because it became obvious that UM/NEO did not share that commitment.

Don't sneakily try to change the focus to me! =P
After this aforementioned site migration which also lead to a heavier hosting bill, I'm considering several ways to monetize on AUKN, to the point that it would at least be self-suficient and not something I spend 100's to mantain because I like my little interactions here.

I think that ads are annoying at best and only after all the issues we've faced that I have discussed elsewhere is that I'm starting to think of ads as a necessary evil. And still, you don't see them all around here the website just yet and if I can avoid, you won't be seeing them anytime soon.

Back to the topic, as I pointed, it only seems awfully odd to me that you join an anime web forums and only post on topics about anime magazines - one with a light discussion on one magazine and another trashing the other magazine. How do you think someone who cares a little should react to this?

AUKN official stand is we are against counterfeits and piracy.

I don't like to repeat myself, but here goes again:
chaos said:
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to justify piracy and counterfeits, but avoiding these is hardly the attitude of most people.

That said, if you are so annoyed at it, why don't you denounce them rather than keep on bitching on a web forums? My issue with the whole thing is that this thread seems more about trashing Neo than actually about the counterfeits themselves.

http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/ ... -complain/
http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud_ ... feit_goods

Muu_Puklip said:
Secondly, I have no relationship and have had no contact with MyM at all unless you count my replies to Ian Wolf in the MyM thread on here. Frankly, if Mr Alozdi did do what UM have more or less bluntly accused him of doing I don't want to ever have anything to do with MyM.
Cool. But if any of the rumours are true, that is only the tip of the iceberg.

Feel free to post elsewhere too.
 
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