New York Post Hits iPad Users with Paywall

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The New York Post raised eyebrows over the weekend when it started blocking iPad users trying to visit its Web site via Mobile Safari. Instead of seeing an ad promoting the publication’s iOS app, then showing articles, iPad owners told to download the US$1.99 New York Post app and buy a monthly subscription.

New York Post: All Your Cash Is Belong To Us!NYPost to iPad owners: Pay up!

The Post isn’t targeting all mobile device users with its new paywall, only iPad owners using Mobile Safari. The site is still open to iPhone and iPod touch users, other mobile devices, and even other Web browsers on the iPad such as Terra.

Mobile Safari users on the iPad are now greeted with this message when visiting the New York Post Web site:

Thanks for coming! NYPOST.com editorial content is now only accessible on the iPad through the New York Post App. If you are a current New York Post App subscriber, please visit the App Store and download the latest version to access NYPOST.com through the INDEX. If you are not a current New York Post App user and would like to subscribe, please download from the App Store. Thank you.

New York Post: Other browsers are OKNYPost isn’t blocking iPhone or other mobile browsers like Terra

The change may be just the first step in blocking all mobile devices from accessing the publication’s content without paying, although right now the New York Post seems to be sending a message that says everyone but iPad owners can read articles for free.

The New York Post has not yet responded to The Mac Observer’s request for a comment.

[Thanks to Dave Winer for the heads up.]

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Comments

John Molloy

Cheaper solution is to download one of the other browsers and use it to visit the site. But honestly? For this kind of extortion attempt people should stop visiting the site completely.

Lee Dronick

I can still reach it via Safari on OSX. I wonder how long it will be until they put up a paywall for everyone.

mike

Change your iPhone browser’s user agent (HTTP_USER_AGENT) so that the website does not recognize your visit as coming from an iPhone.

Lee Dronick

Change your iPhone browser?s user agent (HTTP_USER_AGENT) so that the website does not recognize your visit as coming from an iPhone.

It can’t be done, at least not yet, on iOS. I suspect that it can be done, but not by the average user via a menu item. Does anyone know if it will be possible on iOS 5?

JonGl

Change your iPhone browser?s user agent (HTTP_USER_AGENT) so that the website does not recognize your visit as coming from an iPhone.

Downloads Lite allows changing the user agent.

I just find it funny that people who would never read the NYP, because of its publisher, and who claim to hate Murdoch are the ones who seem to be complaining the most… wink

-Jon

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I find it funny that iPad users are complaining the most! This is the model that Steve Jobs has been preaching, which will revitalize the whole newspaper industry, right? And this give iPad users the premium app-centered experience they want, right?

I jest of course, because at some level, you all realize that your messiah is a mercurial piss ant. However, I bet the NYP people looked at the visitor logs and figured out how they could best serve typical iPad users—you know, people who aren’t nerdy enough to download a replacement browser. You get your premium experience. Isn’t this how it’s supposed to be?

Gunhedd

@Bosco

Please. Pretty pissy and immature statement. (Although a well-honed craft I’ve noticed…)

Think Android is going to remain immune? This isn’t an iOS power play. This is the Post’s and ONLY the Post’s decision to pull this stunt.

Same freakin’ thing with Hulu. And how’s that working for Android? (or is that Apple’s fault too?)

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@Gunhedd: I’d have to go back and re-read it, but I don’t think I mentioned Android in my comment. Not two months ago, the NYP model is exactly what Apple fans here were calling for in supporting Apple’s 30% content tax. The thing resident Apple fans failed to consider is that publishers might play toward Apple’s model on the iPad and proceed cautiously elsewhere. This is one possible and highly likely result.

The thing that really surprises me is that the NYP is getting nearly universally panned for this, and that Apple fans think Apple can do something about it. Apple won’t do anything about it! This is what they asked publishers to do: go all in on the App Store. I mean, seriously, how was Steve Jobs supposed to revolutionize publishing if he can’t make at least his minions pay for content?

Lee Dronick

I just find it funny that people who would never read the NYP, because of its publisher, and who claim to hate Murdoch are the ones who seem to be complaining the most

The only time I read the New York Post is when I follow a link to it. Even then it is just to read a particular story.

Bosco has a point. The NYP is a business and has to decide how to make money. Local newspapers are over the Country are in trouble with declining subscriptions in part because people are getting news for free online or via TV.

ilikeimac

The site is still open to? other Web browsers on the iPad such as Terra.

Does Terra use a different user agent by default, or just allow you to change the user agent? My usual browser, Atomic Web, uses “Mobile Safari” by default so that it gets mobile versions of web sites, but allows the user to change the user agent.

dmuzzy

Yes, Terra does allow you to change the user agent. By default I leave it at Mac OSX Safari 5. I actually prefer it quite a bit over Atomic Web browser, mainly for the actual tabs in the tab browsing.

dmuzzy

I think there are a three issues here.

First, and the one that has everyone in an uproar, is that the NYPost is trying to force iPad users to pony up money to pay for content that is (for now) free to any other browser (or browser agent). Sadly, the average consumer might not be savvy enough to download a browser like Terra to get around the issue. It’s complete and utter crap.

Second is the issue of Steve Jobs wanting publishers to “go all in” as one person put it, and distribute content via the iPad through subscriptions. I personally don’t see this as an issue and think it could be quite good if handled correctly. If a publisher is offering a superior experience, with superior content, unavailable through the standard website, then yes it might be worth a paid app subscription (be it iOS, Android, Windows 8, or WebOS). However, the publisher needs to understand that free might be good enough for many people.

Thirdly is the concept of paid content. In the last decade or so, we have been pretty fortunate to have ways to get our news instead of buying a newspaper (I at least, have not paid for my news since the early 90’s). Sadly without paid advertisements or subscriptions, this model cannot be sustainable. I do not think it is uncalled for to have publishers and journalists asking to be compensated for their work. Perhaps paid app subscriptions are it. Perhaps its dedicated apps with ads.  Perhaps it remains on the web only with banner ads and subscription content. Perhaps a mix. Regardless, journalists will need to be paid at the end of the day, technology and the economy will likely sort it all out.

Just my 2cents.

wab95

The NYP clearly can do whatever they wish regarding subscriptions. Their choice in this case is a gamble, given the sector and the limited intel on that sector. Mobile is the fastest growing sector in media consumption. if this move gets people to pony up and online subscriptions grow, then good for them.

If, on the other hand, people choose not to subscribe and eyeballs fall away, then that hurts advertising, and compromises their income stream going forward, in which case NYP have scored an own-goal. The latter could leave them scrambling against competitors and worse, time, to rebuild their online clientele.

And time will tell. This is not an Apple thing or an Android thing. It’s a market thing (what is the market price for online NYP access?); it’s the poetry and prose of market forces at work.

As far as Safari or iPad vs other browsers and tablets go, what’s good for the goose… We are still in early days.

BTW: nicely summarised, dmuzzy. I hadn’t yet seen your post.

Lee Dronick

The way I see it the NYP is a local and somewhat a state newspaper. It is of little interest to others outside of the New York Metro Area. New Yorkers will be the ones deciding if Murdoch’s gamble pays off in regards to the NYP.

As I said I may occasionally follow a link there to read a story of interest to me, but I get my local and state news from the San Diego Union-Tribune. They are pretty much the only daily in town and can probably sell enough advertising to keep their online service free. There are plenty of free websites where I can get National and International news.

wab95

New Yorkers will be the ones deciding if Murdoch?s gamble pays off in regards to the NYP.


Which makes this all the more exquisitely vulnerable; but that’s true for all local business.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

One logistical hurdle that the NYP is going to have here is that it gets a lot of incoming links from sites like Drudge, HuffPost, etc. Page 6 is a wildly popular page for celebrity and politician gossip. The challenge for NYP and Apple if it really wants to pursue the silo’d content in an app model is to make the transition seamless and still keep those incoming links valuable. Tabbed browsing and Instapaper-like features play against maintaining the value of these incoming links.

I suspect that newspapers will be coming back to the web if they wander too far away. Monetization will need to be compatible with link sharing if they want the value brought by incoming links.

ilikeimac

Yes, Terra does allow you to change the user agent.

What about the first part of my question? What user agent does Terra use by default? Is it “Mobile Safari”, “Desktop Safari”, or some custom string?

dmuzzy

What about the first part of my question? What user agent does Terra use by default? Is it ?Mobile Safari?, ?Desktop Safari?, or some custom string?

The default is “iPad Safari Mobile” (and would therefore encounter the paywall discussed in the article).

There are 4 user agents you can choose from: iPad Safari Mobile (default until you change it), Mac OSX Safari 5, Internet Explorer 6, and Firefox 3.6.

Nub

Heres a letter to the new York post. The worst piece of paper on the east coast. .. America’s oldest continually published, daily piece of bullshit

furbies

Out of curiosity, I just tried both Safari & Atomic on my iPad here in Australia. Safari was blocked, Atomic wasn’t. Atomic is set to identify as Mobile Safari

Mind you, I don’t know why people would read it.
The front page is just full of c%&*. Seriously do New Yorkers call it a newspaper ?

I wouldn’t wrap fish heads in it!

Lee Dronick

The front page is just full of c%&*. Seriously do New Yorkers call it a newspaper ?

The just take their cue from the Old Yorkers http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/ smile

I suppose that the NYP and similar media appeals to a certain demographic.

zewazir

Ok, so let’s get this straight.  If an iPad user wants to use Safari Mobile to view the NYP, they have to PAY for an app, which in turn has them sign up and PAY (again) for a subscription? Pinching iPad users twice for the same thing everyone else gets free? Are these guys iPad haters, or just plain stupid?

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