This blog has Google text ads running in the margin. I find it educational to keep a weather eye on what appears there. An advertiser that recently caught my attention was Magazine City, a fairly standard re-seller of magazine print subscriptions through a web interface. The web site looks efficient and they cover many hundreds of US magazines. It is always interesting to see from such sites how really substantial savings are available on US magazine subs. But the item that really caught my attention was a reasonably prominent link to Ordering magazines for inmates.

Is that really a market worth catering for with a link near the top of the interface for an e-commerce site? It must be so, which is a sorry corollary of the number of prisoners in US correctional facilities. Clicking on the link brought up this message:

Often, a magazine subscription is the best gift money can buy for a loved one who’s incarcerated at a correctional facility. We’ve processed thousands of orders for inmates in jails and penitentiaries across the country, so we’ve developed a level of expertise concerning inmate subscriptions.

I have no idea how penitentiaries handle web access, but the idea of private subscription to a digital magazine through the web is going to be a No-No for some time to come. Pornography on the web is too big and too obvious a problem… its going to be some years before we need to develop a level of expertise in handling inmate subscriptions.