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Why everyone should boycott the New York Post

New York Post

We are at a very dangerous crossroads when it comes to the internet. Companies are doing what they think they need to do to be profitable and still bring the best content they can to their readers. Publications like the New York Post are trying things in the hope of discovering the secret sauce to make money.

They are heading in the wrong direction and they need to be told as much.

In what “must have sounded like a great idea to someone at News Corp,” the paper has blocked iPad access via Safari, the default browser on the tablet. The goal is to prompt iPad users into downloading their app if they want to get the news.  This is a bad precedent, one that cannot work if we don’t want to see it popping up as the option that other publications take.

There are always challenges with running a publication. Advertising dollars are getting smaller and it’s harder now to turn a profit than ever before. While it’s not a bad thing to try to make money, it’s an awful thing to isolate and remove content based upon the device used simply because the people using the device are likely capable of paying the subscription fee.

A better solution would be to have premium content. This is a technique that allows for some or most of the content to be visible through any device, but to block portions of content, features on the site, and added values that can only be accessed by those paying for the subscription. In other words, rather than limit the news, enhance it. Make something more valuable by adding value, not by charging for everything.

New York Post, give us a reason to pay for your app. The reason is not and cannot be the entirety of your content. In essence, you’re saying that your content is more important and higher quality than other publications on the internet that do not charge the consumers and that rely solely on advertising or premium content subscriptions to turn a profit. It’s the harder way, but it’s the right way to do it.

We will not be visiting the site. We will not be downloading their app. We will not encourage the behavior of forcing people into making a purchase for any and every piece of content on the publication. You shouldn’t either.

We will be boycotting the publication until they change their ways. This is a precedent that cannot be set. It cannot work. If it does, we are taking the wrong path at the crossroads. The right path is increasing quality and giving people reasons to download an app or pay a premium subscription charge for content.

  1. The question quickly becomes “What does the NY Post have that other news sites do not?” Really, I don’t know if they have anything that you can’t find on Google News. I don’t have an iPad, but really .. this kind of attempt really shoes that they don’t know their market anymore. You can’t strong arm something that you don’t have complete or major control over.

  2. I agree with the author, I have my BA in Journalism and I must admit it’s scary times right now. I would never condone paying for this type of subscription. As the author says, setting this type of precedent would have all other publications going down the same path. Then what? We all pay $15 a month x 20 or so publications to stay educated and informed? Education should be disseminated to the poor, not withheld for the upper class.  

    On another note something interesting is how these publications see mobile devices as a golden opportunity. Faced with declining subscriptions in the print market for years, they see devices like the iPad as the new doorstep. Publishers simply want to go back to their glory days where everyone ponied up who wanted to take part. 

    The reality here is that publishers now more than ever need to understand their audience – something they used to be quite adept at.

  3. That’s the typical liberal mentality. You think you are entitled to read the NY Post without paying.  Someone else should pay, just not you, right? That’s the attitude which has bankrupted this nation and made us a country of freeloaders looking for handouts from the government. The NY Post produces great content and I applaud them cutting off free loaders who want something for nothing.

    1. I don’t think liberal are too much concerned about reading NY Post. Also, you so called tea party/conservative make to look all issues as Socialist, even though most of the time you all are out of touch with the realities.

  4. As an individual in the newspaper publishing business, I too feel that this is a misstep on the Post’s behalf. But hardly one to crucify them over.

    The reality is that there is no clear cut way to monetize content creation on the web. So, publishers are left to blindly stab in the dark to see what sticks. Unfortunately, the Post’s solution has ignored a fundamental principle of the internet … the free flowing of information.

    From my point of view, there is one crucial piece of the puzzle missing when it comes to monetizing editorial content on the web: an easy payment process. The internet had made readers very non-committal. Subscriptions and long term pre-payments make no sense. Entering a credit-card number has become a roadblock on the web, that usually just cause the reader to look elsewhere.

    If publishers could agree on a simple micro-payment system (something like Flattr) where readers could tip the content creator the same way they would hit a Facebook like button, then it removes the roadblock by making payment optional (but incredibly easy). We need something that does for tipping, what PayPal did for online payments.

    If the process of tipping for an article can be reduced to a single click, I have a feeling that people may start to open up to the idea of paying for content that they truly found to be valuable.

    Then, instead of implementing a pay wall, publishers could require readers to have a micro-payment tipping account in order to read the full content. And then offer incentives for readers who tip generously.

    Information is still free to flow … and the potential to make some money is there. Better than $0.

    That’s my two cents.

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