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June 20, 2011
As a new media company, we’re constantly tracking the moves of other media companies. Last week, we covered Apple’s moves to loosen its App Store subscription restriction. Now, the New York Post is cracking down on reader accessibility. If you’re a fan of the infamous New York-based newspaper, you’ll be sad to know it doesn’t want you to view its homepage on your iPhone or iPad (at least, not without buying the app) …
If NYPost.com detects a viewer is visiting from a version of Mobile Safari, the user is redirected to a subscription and download page for its iPhone or iPad app. However, it’s not the end of the line for free NY Post content — the App Store is filled to the brim with browser alternatives, many of which allow users to spoof their browser. In the past, I’ve reviewed Atomic Browser, a great third-party browsing tool that with just two taps had me surfing on NYPost.com as if I was running Internet Explorer 8.
In my opinion, the New York Post has set a bad example of handling new media. At best it’s a minor annoyance for the tech-savvy, and at worst, it irritates a huge amount of loyal readers. I don’t see the New York Post gaining any positive attention, money or readership by doing this. In my humble opinion, the New York Post can eat its cake (the App Store app) and have it, too. Give the web access free as it once was, with all the ads in place. Then, all the Post would have to do is offer subscribers some small incentive, whether it’s no ads, special content or a community forum or message board — it might be surprised at how many people are happy to pay a subscription for no ads.
Whatever it is, blocking readership won’t create more readership. It will just ship people off to other news sites to read what they were looking for, pushing the New York Post closer into the increasingly obscure world of print media online. My prediction? The New York Post will shift its stance back sooner than later. We’ll keep tabs on the mobile paywall as the week rolls on.
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