The Apple Newsstand has lost its way. In fact, it looks like they’ve left the place to its own devices and the decay is starting to show. Initially created to emulate a physical newsstand in digital form, it would seem that the owner has packed up and moved to Florida good.
D.B. Hebbard of Talking New Media always does a good job of keeping up with the Newsstand, and pulls no punches in his latest article. Hebbard notes that, with more than 10,000 titles now in the Newsstand (the majority of them magazines), more problems are becoming evident all the time.
“Of particular concern are the number of clearly fraudulent apps to be found inside some categories – Men’s Interest and Women’s Interest being the most popular categories with these apps. Many of the digital magazines in question are look-a-like digital editions that produce only one issue, yet attempt to sell annual subscriptions,” Hebbard explains.
“Apple has known about the problem for a long time now, but chooses to do nothing about it. Other apps simply are clear violations of developer guidelines, pretending to sell one magazine title while actually offering soft core porn titles in their app libraries,” he continues.
Finding what you are looking for can be a real challenge, as there seems to be no oversight to where things are posted and why, Hebbard notes.
“When looking at the Newsstand, both inside iTunes on a Mac, and through the store on an iPad, one sees that the app store team has stopped maintaining the categories. No promotional carousels are evident, and the “New” sections are just alphabetical listings of apps (meaning if you are thinking of launching a new digital magazine you might consider calling it Aaron’s Magazine, it will be forever front and center).”
We agree with Hebbard when he states unequivocally that, “It is long past time for Apple to decide whether this is the business they really want to be in. Or maybe Apple might consider outsourcing the Newsstand to a third party… say Amazon or Google.”
This kind of quality is not worthy of the Apple brand.