Western Producer Boycotts Farmers Post

It has been brought to our attention that the Western Producer is refusing to publish a paid classified advertisement for one of our customers who simply wants to promote his land which he has chosen to sell by auction on www.FarmersPost.ca. Farmers Post is a non-traditional online auction place for farmers to buy & sell property, and we explicitly encourage sellers to cross-promote their property/auction sale as they choose, including in local newspapers and industry publications such as the Western Producer.

Our customer has tried repeatedly to get Western Producer to allow him to advertise his auction and direct readers to his personal auction webpage for more information but with no avail. In the end this was the only written justification provided by Western Producer in an email from VP Shaun Jessome:

As owner and publisher of the Western Producer - in print and online - we do reserve the right to refuse advertising that offers services in direct competition with our own business.

How is a lone farmer trying to sell his farm online in direct competition with the Producer? Is it not a farmer’s right to decide how to sell his farm and where to advertise such sale? And doesn’t our customer, a retiring famer who has been a loyal annual subscriber of Western Producer for more than 40 years, deserve to be treated well by Western Producer?

Let’s ponder that Western Producer actually fears Farmers Post as "direct competition"… Us, a small software startup created by rural Saskatchewan born and raised U of S grads? If we are competition then presumably all auction companies are also in competition and Western Producer wouldn’t allow them to advertise, right? Apparently not if you have hired Remax or Century 21 to auction your farm land…

Land Auction on Western Producer
Example of a land auction posted in the Western Producer classifieds

Land Auction on Western Producer
Another example of a land auction posted in the Western Producer classifieds

So if those auction advertisements with website urls are permitted, then it must be the online auction concept of farmerspost.ca that Western Producer is concerned by. Naturally online auction ads must all be refused, right? Apparently not!

Online auction posted on Western Producer
An online auction posted in the Western Producer classifieds

Western Producer’s Jessome goes on to state:

Specifically, while www.farmerspost.ca does offer an online auction service, it also offers an online-only Farm Equipment Sales service - something in direct competition with our print/online equipment sales service.

This statement seems to backtrack on the online land auction being the “direct competition” issue, but implies online equipment auction sales is the true threat. Even though Farmers Post does not currently have any equipment listed for auction, Western Producer sees it as in "direct competition" so one would naturally assume no other ads would be allowed that reference online equipment auctions, right? No!

Online auction posted on Western Producer
Equipment auction posted in the Western Producer classifieds

Online auction posted on Western Producer
Another equipment auction posted in the Western Producer classifieds

We at Farmers Post are left as confused as our customer by the Western Producers actions. All our customer wanted was to pay to advertise his private auction, nothing any different than many other ads the Producer has happily published. Perhaps it is his decision to go a non-traditional route to sell his farm his way, without having the obligation of paying high commissioned real estate agents & auctioneers, which fears the Western Producer most?

Farmers Post is here to help its customers save money and hassle and we had expected the Western Producer would be open-minded to this innovative concept and realize that would ultimately drive them even more advertising revenues. We sincerly hope that the Western Producer will reconsider their stance and we would be happy to work with them in any way that can benefit our mutual customers.