Monday, June 20, 2011

The New York Post commits Internet discrimination

The publication is now blocking mobile users using Safari for iPad. Trying to access the site, users will be redirected and forced to download the New York Post application.

Industry leaders in the dead tree business have been scrambling to find ways to become profitable separate from the traditional publication distribution model. They have finally come to terms that they are stricken with a terminal illness but is it too late for them to find a cure?

In their pursuit of new revenue streams however the Post has committed discrimination on the net. If you are an iPad user you have lost the right to access a part of the internet that any other average computer or mobile phone user would. A part of the web has just been blocked off for a very unlucky subset of users.

I understand what they're trying to do, their app that makes them money is available on the iPad where it's not on other platforms. Why would they block other users from their site without an alternative to get there? This is part of the side-effects from waiting so long to adopt innovation. They have a long hard road ahead of them of trial and mostly error.

The reason this is such a hot topic for me is that the internet is under threat of inequality. Those that control the pipelines of the net, the cable companies, are exploring their own business models of increasing revenues.

Netflix which is eating into cable's profits by winning over their cable tv subscribers may have to deal with internet discrimination. One model the cable companies have talked about is charging their internet subscribers a premium to have the ability to access Netflix. One more example how these old dying companies don't know how to deal with up and coming technology.

So while blocking access to a website from a certain device may seem small it is the foreshadowing of things to come. Fight internet discrimination today!

Familiarize yourself with Net Neutrality which is the principle that ISP's and governments put no restrictions on those participating on the internet.

Also call your representatives and tell them not to support the disingenuously named Protect IP law going through congress. This is one of the worst attacks on freedom of speech. Don't be silent!

2 comments:

  1. I feel like you're missing the larger, possibly trend setting cause to the effect you are unhappy about. I could be wrong, but the New York Times just implemented in-app billing a-la Apple's forced unification, which means they suffered a price hike for their content.

    They had 2 options: raise the price on everything to match (which would have been suicide), or block the other payment/reading methods so most people don't notice the difference.

    I don't see this as being an isolated thing, either. I expect many of the "dead tree" publishers to follow suit and implement the same thing. To be honest, that scared the hell out of me, because it sets a clear precedent for Amazon to follow suit, only Amazon won't just make the prices on iOS 30% higher, they'll raise the price on digital books throughout the industry.

    So, here's to unification.

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