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A number of interesting things here. First the story of internet media (which I played a part in beginning) continuing on, but also an understory about the battle between "pretty" presentation, with customized, handcrafted layout, and generic any-device layout and publication. Custom software vs. web software. McLuhan or Berners-Lee? Apple or Open? Form vs. Function? I need to write more on this.
Michael Richardson's profile photoBrian Holt Hawthorne's profile photoKetil Malde's profile photoBrad Templeton's profile photo
I fail to understand why people create mobile web sites with restricted user interfaces, nor why they create mobile apps when they already have a perfectly fine website.
I think the purpose of apps is to lock the user in. By this method, they can transmit content that is invisible to search engines, and show different stuff to different users.
The web sites I understand, in a way. They've built huge pages that are a megabyte in size and made decisions long ago that surely nobody has a screen less than 800 or 1024 wide, and now suddenly it's not working on mobile devices.

In the latter case, they don't think their web site is perfectly fine. They always viewed it as a compromise, and an app can do anything you want, the way you want it, if you are willing to spend the money. But it can be lots of money.

As I said this is a form vs. function battle. There is not necessarily a single winner, because form does make things viable that were not viable without it. But the form people refuse to accept the function people saying "What matters is the text. Let the computer lay out the text for the user's device and needs." To the form people, not laying out the text is heresy.
+Russell Nelson - When I use a web browser I block most of the ads. When I use an app I don't have a good a toolkit to block that junk. So an app is a way past my blockers.
Maybe that is the justification for spending the money on an application?
Could be but I doubt it. I mean that's part of the general thing the original article puts forward, the desire to create the walled garden, the unified product, something that old-world publishers can understand. But the goal was to boost "circulation" and they don't count who has ad-blocking. Stopping ad-blocking would require more foresight. Suggestions are that ad-blocking is done by 10 to 15% of web users, which is significant, but not business-destroying. I think most sites just decide to count it as shrinkage. It's very rare for a site to say "You seem to have ad blocking on, no soup for you!" though it would not be that hard to do it.
It seems pretty straightforward. They loved it because they thought costs would be low and sales would be high. Then they hated it because costs were high and sales were low.
In Canada, the first banks out of the gate with mobile apps were the ones with the worst web sites.
+Russell Nelson "when they already have a perfectly fine website"? The problem is that many do not have a perfectly fine website. I do most of my news reading on my iPad or iPod Touch. The New York Times (for example) has a completely unusable website on a mobile device. Their app, however, is a pleasure to use on both of my devices.
Now, there are some publishers who get it completely wrong. For example, the Berkshire Eagle has an excellent website. Their iPad app, however, was created by a third-party and appears to simply be a browser of the print version of the paper. It is utterly unusable.
+Brad Templeton some tech sites I frequent (e.g. does this - pops up a message, politely suggesting I turn ads back on again to support them.
Anybody do it for flash blocking? I run flashblock both because I don't like dancing/talking web pages either for ads or for their own content, but it happens to block out a lot of ads too. I've seen sites say you need flash to see them, but that's because their own content is in flash, not because the advertising is in flash. Static text and display ads are not worth blocking on a desktop browser any more, but animated ads, audio ads, etc. are a curse.
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