The other night I picked up my phone and clicked on Pulse. Pulse is a web reader designed for mobile that lets you pick your favorite sites and get their content. You can separate your news sources by topic and tab and for the most part has replaced the newspaper for news in my life. I get to peruse through stories from all over the web and world in a nice convenient format. Most of the time, the stories will be teasers on the major newspaper sites and I have to click on a “Read More…” link. Some sites are nice enough to allow me to read the whole story in Pulse app. Lately though I have been noticing some rather bothersome behavior from clicking the “Read More…” links.
Usually when a story gets my attention and I choose to read the story I get taken to the site’s website and with my phone’s generous screen size, even sites that don’t have mobile counterparts are very readable. Nevertheless, for some reason I have noticed more and more sites have cut me off from even that choice, instead offering me a 404 unreachable page. And if they let me reach the main site, some news sites have gone as far as giving a teaser on the website itself, choosing to cut main content off by a paywall. For those who do not know what a paywall is, it is a website that does not allow you to view content without paying first for access.
For a geek like me these paywalls are usually no problem. First a well known story will be available at other places and when it becomes necessary I have my ways to bypass the wall. To be honest though, the paywall doesn’t bother me as much as the newest behavior that has become prevalent , the pushing of the app. I am probably late to this game, but I am noticing more and more newspapers pushing their custom app to deliver their news.
To this, I say No Thank You.
There is one thing I liked about technology and that is making it work to my needs. When I want to do my daily reading I rely on software and apps like FeedDemon and Pulse. It allows me to go to start one piece of software to get more done and thus saving me a lot of time. The reason I use these apps because they work brilliantly for my life, and as far as I can tell do for many other people.
This is not even a rant against paying for content, but for being able to use said content the way I want to. If I found one of my favorite sites for information decided to go behind a paywall, I might gladly pay for said content but I want it delivered my way. To me installing an app for each site I read would be insanity. For those who still do not understand it would be like having to buy a TV for each channel you want to watch.
Imagine the fun of having a specifically branded TV that only allowed you to watch one channel!
That also brings up the other issue I have, that is the old does not want to work with the new. Many times, sometimes on a daily basis I am reminded how the established does not want to change or work with the new. We have seen this is music, movies, books and more established industries. People now have choices where before they did not. Moreover, the response to this loss of control has been clamping down to the detriment of the buying public. While this might seem to be a solution, it just cuts off the old from the new and eventually will be their undoing.
It is truly ironic when you think about it, the only way the public can consume something is for said products to made and displayed to be chosen. Locking down, and forcing people to make choices you want to them to make is not usually met with favorable opinion. Consumers have so many choices that one less choice is not going to harm them, and the market is already filling the gaps of those who refuse to change and adapt.
And by the way, I still don’t want their app.