By Greg Mills
As with a lot of us who have embraced the iPad experience, I downloaded The Daily app and have been using it each day to read the first virtual newspaper. While certainly things commonly improve over time, I am reluctantly of the opinion that The Daily lacks any killer features that would cause me to pony up my hard earned US$40 a year.
The biggest problem all web sites faces is the revenue issue. Subscription is certainly one way to go ,and perhaps it will work. The problem is that the web surfing population has gotten used to great content offered in abundance for free. The problem of finding a way to extract revenue from readers is based upon a couple of issues. First is how to painlessly move the money and then finding compelling reasons for people to pay.
The free download vs the paid download goes back to music and the iTunes Store. Back when you could steal music using Napster most people began to figure copyrights were for other people. Apple created an easy way to pay a reasonable amount for songs with a serious copyright protection system linked to the popular iPods. While slow to move to the new economic system, Steve Jobs famously persuaded the Music industry to come on-board and the rest is history.
Advertising is also a revenue source that supports content creation and web site financing but it has it's limits. All too often web sites allow advertising to hijack their customer experience and face a backlash. I can't tell you how many abusive advertising programs have caused me to never come back to the offensive site.
If advertising is so in-the-face of the viewer that it distracts from the content, I won't play that game. Pop-overs, pop-unders, welcome screens with full page advertising that loads before the content, unrelated advertising links in text, targeted ads and the such have attempted to create a revenue stream. The advertising devices or techniques that interrupt the content or hijack the browser control from the user are all distractions from content.
The Daily hopes to have a combination of income from subscription and advertising. Research has shown that the interactive ads used in the Daily hold the attention of readers far longer than regular banner or normal web ads.
Perhaps The Daily will become more compelling to me with more content on science and tech. Right now there isn't much content in those categories. Another element that might help is a local classified section. That would draw both advertising money and readers.
As with any news source there will be political or social content that is opposite to the view of the reader. Letters to the editor should also be forthcoming. The competition to paper is the web and trying to merge the two sounds great. I hope it works.
That's Greg's bite for today.
(Greg Mills is currently a graphic and Faux Wall Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. Greg is an Extra Class Ham Radio Operator, AB6SF, iOS developer and web site designer. He's also working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process for turning waste dual pane glass window units into thermal solar panels used to heat water see: www.CottageIndustySolar.com Married, with one daughter, Greg writes for intellectual property web sites and on Mac/Tech related issues. See Greg's art web site at
www.gregmills.info He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)