A newsagent attending a recent Hubbed presentation promoted by and held at the ANF / QNF offices in Brisbane says that Hubbed CEO David McLean said that he had an intense dislike of me and intended to bring Mark Fletcher down. He is reported to have said that he has met me to discuss Hubbed. I have never met with or spoken to David McLean.
While I don’t care what McLean thinks about me, newsagents would be better served and informed is he answered the questions about the Hubbed contract I have published and addressed the broader business questions I have raised.
That I publish my personal opinions here on this blog does not diminish the opinions nor restrict how they can respond. I’d encourage McLean to respond to my questions as if they were put at a public forum since that’s what this place is – a public gathering place of newsagents. There are 1,300 visitors a day here. Don’t think of it as a blog but rather a place where newsagents talk. McLean is welcome to respond here as he would publicly at a Q&A session.
Alternatively, I’d welcome an opportunity to put my concerns about Hubbed to McLean and others in a public forum where newsagents can see the Q&A live.
Transparency is key. From what I have seen so far transparency is lacking in what Hubbed has put to newsagents.
That McLean is responding to my questions by attacking me should itself concern newsagents. A more potent response from the company would be to answer the questions, thereby showing that concerns were unfounded. That would be a good outcome for Hubbed and for newsagents.
Newsagents have not yet been presented the complete commercial terms and therefore cannot make an informed decision as to what they are signing up for.
If the ANF was not a business partner of Hubbed it could ask the questions I am asking. If the ANF was not a business partner of Hubbed it could act as an association representing newsagents on this matter.
Newsagents have not been presented clean financial information to show how they will get a return on the Hubbed daily fees + the cost of the retail space used + the cost of labour.
Hubbed has not been specific about how it will drive new traffic for newsagents.
Hubbed has not, from what I am told, addressed in any detail how it will compete with the Australia Post self-serve kiosks.
Let me be clear and repeat what I have written previously – I don’t know if Hubbed is good or not as all of the information to make such an assessment is yet to be released.
What I do know is that Hubbed is an agency service. There are some newsagents who will want to remain agents. Those who want to be retailers are less likely to find the Hubbed agency offer appealing.
The people behind Hubbed should welcome scrutiny if their offer is as good as they say it is and they should attack those calling for scrutiny if what they offer does not stack up.