Exploiting Conde Nast Magazine Subscriptions (for fun and profit)

This is an pretty old post from my blog, which has been preserved in case its content is of any interest. You might want to go back to the homepage to see some more recent stuff.

I have a pile of unopened subscription copies of Wired UK piling up in the hallway, so this evening I decided to try cancelling my subscription. It looks like you can only do that by email or over the phone, but for other subscription changes, such as change of address, the Condé Nast parent company offer a very helpful website. Rather too helpful.

The login page usefully notes that “you can find your customer number on the wrapper your magazine comes in.” And indeed it does — strip the letters off the beginning of that long number (as it helpfully doesn’t tell you to) and that’s the customer number.

The signup form asks for the customer number “(if known)”, leading me to suspect that even that may not be necessary, and all you actually need to know to manage someone’s magazine subscription is their name and address.

I tested this with my own details. Signing up sent me an email in which high-quality HTML character code skills are demonstrated.

After fixing the URL and pasting it into a browser, then logging in with my new details, I was given full control of my subscription account. This allows me to see my subscriptions, and to change the address to which they are sent.

So there you have it — non-intrusively viewing the outside of any Condé Nast magazine subscription packet (possibly UK-only) gives you the ability to view all the recipient’s subscriptions, and redirect them to the address of your choice!

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