Synapse Group

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Synapse Group, Inc.
IndustryMarketing, Multichannel Marketing, Magazine, Periodical, Subscription, Reward Programs
HeadquartersStamford, Connecticut, U.S.
Key people
Scott Macon (President)[1]
Number of employees
ParentMeredith Corporation

Synapse Group, Inc. is a multichannel marketing company. Synapse is also the largest consumer magazine distributor in the United States,[3] with access to over 700 magazine titles from all the major publishers (including Hearst Corporation, Condé Nast Publications, Meredith Corporation, and Time Inc.). Synapse attracts subscribers for these publications by working through a number of non-traditional marketing channels, including credit card issuers, catalog companies, and airline frequent-flyer programs.[4][5]

Synapse Group receives nearly universally negative reviews due to unethical and misleading business practices, including repeated unauthorized charges to customers’ credit cards.[6][7][8] In August 2018 a class-action lawsuit was filed against Synapse Group in California for “Violation of the California Automatic Renewal Law”, “Violation of the California Legal Remedies Act”, “False Advertising”, and “Unfair Competition”.[9] The company’s unethical practices have also been investigated and documented by various publications such as The New York Times.[10] [11]


Synapse Group began in 1991 as NewSub Magazine Service LLC. Founded by Jay S. Walker (who developed and Michael Loeb[12], the company began by marketing fixed-term magazine subscriptions through credit card companies. Over the years, NewSub expanded its marketing channels to include retailers, airlines, catalogers, and dot-com companies. In the year 2000, the company changed its name to Synapse Group, Inc.[3][13]

Continuous Service System[edit]

In 1996, NewSub introduced their Continuous Subscription Service system, which would automatically renew subscriptions without consent from customers; at a price far above what those customers initially agreed to pay. The company applied for a patent, which was granted in 2000 to Michael Loeb and Synapse Group, Inc. for "[m]ethod and apparatus for providing open-ended subscriptions to commodity items normally available through term-based subscriptions. The Continuous Subscription Service system is designed to automatically renew subscriptions with or without consent of the customer. "[14]

Acquisition by Time Inc.[edit]

In 2000, Time Inc. made its first equity investment in Synapse Group, starting a partnership that would ultimately culminate with the outright purchase of Synapse in 2006.[3] In a 2000 press release from Time Warner, Jeremy Koch (who was Consumer Marketing President at the time) explained, "The marketing of consumer magazines is undergoing substantial change. Our relationship with Synapse is an important part of Time Inc.'s strategy to support the expansion of new and innovative marketing methods."[15]

Acquisition of Bizrate Insights[edit]

In 2016, Synapse Group acquired Bizrate Insights.[16]


Synapse Group is headquartered at 225 High Ridge Road, in Stamford, Connecticut. The company employs over 250 people and has revenues of $400 million.[3][17]


  • is a direct-to-consumer portal website that launched in 2011. Registered users accrue points by taking quizzes, playing games, or browsing for recipes. These points can then be exchanged in an online store for goods or gift cards. It was shut down in October 2012.
  • Elite Traveler Awards was founded in 1995 as CAP (Customer Appreciation Program) Systems to develop affinity marketing strategies for frequent flyer and other customer reward programs. Members may elect to redeem their frequent flyer miles or other points for subscriptions to traditional print or electronic magazines. Since the program was implemented, an estimated 100 billion frequent flyer miles have been redeemed for magazine subscriptions.
  • Magazine Direct, a program introduced in 1998, offers magazine subscriptions to DRTV and catalog customers when they call to place orders.
  • SynapseConnect, Inc. is the e-commerce subsidiary of Synapse Group. The company has developed a number of internet-marketing strategies that attempt to use Synapse's offline marketing strength to leverage online sales. Some of its properties include, which launched in 2000 and was the first third-party subscription service for trade publications.[3]

Service Marks[edit]

Synapse Group has used a number of service marks over time in association with particular business channels, both for direct sales projects as well as with partner services. These marks include: Synapse Group Inc., Newsub Services, Synapse Solutions, Synapse Retail Ventures, and Magazine Rewards Center.[3] These names often appear on customers' credit card statements for the company's subscription service charges.

See also[edit]

Time Inc.


  1. ^ Meredith Corporation (September 6, 2018). "Meredith Corporation Names Scott Macon President Of Synapse Group". Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  2. ^ Google Finance. "Synapse Group, Inc".
  3. ^ a b c d e f Synapse Group, Inc. "Corporate Website".
  4. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek. "Synapse Group, Inc".
  5. ^ Google Finance. "Synapse Group, Inc".
  6. ^ Yelp. "Synapse Group (Reviews)".
  7. ^ Yahoo. "Synapse Group (Reviews)".
  8. ^ MapQuest. "Synapse Group (Reviews)".
  10. ^ The New York Times. "How Did This Become a Commitment?".
  11. ^ Dayton Daily News. "Beware of automatic renewals on magazine subscriptions".
  12. ^ "Michael Loeb". Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  13. ^ Judson, Bruce (2005). Go It Alone!: The Secret to Building a Successful Business on Your Own. p93: Harper Collins. p. 240. ISBN 0-06-073114-1.
  14. ^ Google Patents. "Patent US6014641".
  15. ^ Time Warner. "Press Release: Synapse Group Inc. Announces Equity Investment by Time Inc".
  16. ^ O'Shea, Chris (September 7, 2016). "Time Inc. Buys Survey Company BizRate Insights". AdWeek. AdWeek. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  17. ^ Jackson, Susan E.; Randall S. Schuler; Steve Werner (2011). Managing Human Resources, 11th Edition. p353: South-Western, Cengage Learning. p. 696. ISBN 1-111-58022-7.

External links[edit]