New York Post Blocks iPad Browsing--Badly

Work in IT long enough--say, a week--and you'll inevitably encounter an employee whose enthusiasm for their own ideas is matched only by their utter inability to comprehend their own incompetence. These are the users who open every attachment, volunteer to help the poor millionaires of Nigeria, and who ask to see the company's firewall. It only takes one of these people to wreak havoc on an IT admin's life.

If one of these derp-spawned users is a headache, 20 of them in a room are apparently the New York Post. Like many newspapers and magazine publishers, the New York Post has created an iPad app in the hopes of enticing new subscriptions. Like many other companies, it's invested in doing so because iPad apps are a sort of Hail Mary for the print journalism industry. Unlike other companies, the Post decided it would be a brilliant idea to kick iPad owners in the, erm, shins. As of Saturday, iPad users who visited the NYP were greeted by the following:

Thank's for coming! 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 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

Putting The "In" Into Incompetence

Unfortunately for the NYP, this 'block' only works if iPad users are surfing in via Safari. Mini-browsers, like Opera Mini or Skyfire, work just fine. This new technique has replaced the ads that iPad users were seeing in between page loads, and there's no denying that the print journalism industry is in dire straights. The biggest dailies, like the New York Times, can probably maintain revenues and subscriptions based partly on their reputations. Whether you like it or dislike it, the NYT has built a strong national name brand.

Not every idea is a *good* idea

The New York Post, in contrast, has a reputation as a tabloid in the British/Australian style. This means less "Space Alien Weds Elvis Clone" and more blatant, sensational stories that retain at least a faint grounding in fact. As if the existing workarounds weren't amusing enough, the new paywall broke the New York Post's own Facebook page. Attempts to click on stories posted to FB run right into the same problem. Making matters worse (or at the least, more amusing), the NYP canceled its first, advertising-supported app not long ago, directing all its users to wait and download the upcoming edition.

Present subscription rates are $6.99/mo through $74.99 per year. Print subscription costs are $3.50/week, $14/month, or $182/year. Amazingly enough, the tabloid hasn't caught on to the earthshaking idea that people who already subscribe to the print edition should be automatically granted digital access. Thus, maintaining full subscriptions to both digital and dead tree editions will run you $256.99.

The only thing worse (or better, depending on your sense of humor) than a company making a blatant cash grab in an attempt to salvage a dying business model is a company whose blatant cash grab is derailed by their own  stupidity.