NYTimes Praises, Pulls Pulse Reader From App Store

At a time when newspaper readership is at an all-time low, newspaper publishers need to find new and better ways to get its content to the public. The iPad looks to be a great resource for newspapers all over the world for getting new readers and increase their revenue. The problem these publishers are facing right now is that they are fighting the next generation of news publishing instead of embracing it — much in the same way record labels fought the iPod and MP3s. Pulse News Reader for iPad is a perfect example, as it was pulled from the app store by a request from The New York Times.

Pulse is a promising news reader app which was praised just yesterday by none other than Steve Jobs, and even The New York Times just last week. I was able to download the app just before it got pulled from the app store. My first impression was that Pulse looks more suited for newspaper sources than blog feeds. Ironic, considering it was a newspaper that asked Apple to take it down. Lawyers from the Times asked Apple to remove the app because it comes pre-loaded with NYT’s publicly available RSS feed. According to the lawyers, since the app comes with the NYT feed pre-loaded, Pulse is making money from NYT’s content.

The developer doesn’t criticize Apple for pulling the app. “They have to respond when contacted by lawyers from the Times,” said Akshay Kothari. I agree with Kothari. Apple isn’t going to get into a legal battle with The New York Times. But I think NYT is being ridiculous in the request. 

The feed is free, so Pulse isn’t providing content that users can’t get a number of other ways. NYT owns the feed as well, so if they feel that the free feed isn’t bringing in more revenue in terms of additional subscriptions or advertising, then they have the ability to modify the content that is being sent to Pulse. By having the feed automatically included, the Times is gaining a number of readers who might not have cared about their news before. 

Overall, the benefits to The New York Times here are huge. But instead of working with new media outlets, they’ve chosen to fight them. Hopefully the saying, “No publicity is bad publicity,” rings true for the Times.

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