As time goes by, we are discovering new technologies and experimenting with new ways to access media while media is discovering those same technologies and trying to figure out a way to make money off of it. The New York Post is trying something new; blocking access to its website content for anyone trying to read from the iPad’s native web browser, Safari.
Dave Winer of scripting.com recently discovered that the New York Post is now denying access to the company’s website for mobile Safari on the iPad. Not an owner of the app, nor a huge fan of the pseudo-news outlet, Winer stumbled upon the block by way of a link from another site. Now, if he wants to actually read the article that he only had minimal interest in, he would have to pay the New York Post $6.99 per month for the pleasure of reading it. Winer fears that the New York Post’s decision to block iPad users may start a snowball effect that will change the way media companies run their websites, and possible push potential tablet buyers into the Android market to avoid the restrictions.
Currently, access denial is limited only to the Safari web browser, and only on the iPad. You can still access the New York Post from other browsers, like Opera, from any computer browser and from the iPhone’s mobile Safari browser. The decision to limit access to just one browser on just one device seems an empty gesture on the Post’s part. The reasons are unknown, but one could speculate that the media group is starting small, just to see how well the restriction works, or maybe they have a deal with Apple, Inc. to force users to either pay up through in-app purchases or move on.
Since the iPad’s release, news organizations have been scrambling to find a way to make money off of the new technology. Unfortunately, as with the boom of the internet itself, these organizations have failed to develop a viable source of revenue. Maybe the New York Post’s experiment will generate income and create a new way for media to get paid.
That being said, having certain websites blocked from access seems like a poor way to thank your readers for their support. I can understand media companies asking users to pay a subscription price in order to read their main content, but it seems logical that the website itself should then just be a secondary placeholder for bits of information. No one should be able to access main content without a subscription. Everyone should have access to the additional content that the website has provided. Many daily newspapers have used this model for years. It seems like a fair way for all.
What do you think? Is the New York Post doing the right thing by denying access to Safari iPad users only? Should other media outlets rethink their own allowances? What future do you see for newspapers and magazines in this new tablet age?