North Coast Media has two B2B magazine apps moved into the Apple Newsstand
B2B media company incorporates subscription qualification mechanism into its Landscape Management and Pit & Quarry apps, but system still has its issues
The app for Landscape Management offers the special section for the upcoming landscape trade show GIE+Expo to download, a 16-page replica of the print section. But when readers attempt to read the other issues inside the app they are immediately sent to a page where they must sign in using a nine number code they will find on their print magazine addresses.
Believe it or not, I think I am a subscriber to Landscape Management as I once published a competing landscape magazine. But searching through my stack of print magazines revealed no back issues so I could not find a usable code.
But the app allows for subscribing on the spot, and like all B2B magazines that still require readers to go through the qualification process, one can sign up fairly easily as long as you are willing to lie a little.
What is odd, however, about subscribing in this manner is the first thing one must do is tap the download button and confirm with Apple that you want to subscribe (for free). Many readers will think that this is all they have to do. But then when they tap the download button they are taken to that online subscription page.
The problem is that the process, which works great for print, is completely inadequate for digital. The reader completes the forms, and then is told they are now a subscriber, then sent to an online flipbook of the print edition. They then can either read the flipbook, assuming they have a magnifying glass and 20-20 vision, or wait for the email confirmation which, presumably will contain their subscription code. I say “presumably” because after trying twice to subscribe I never did get that email and so never could access the digital editions through the app.
The updates for both magazine apps bring them up to version 4.0, and I assume that both apps are still coming out of their printer, RR Donnelley. I believe both apps date back to 2012, that remains the copyright date used in the app description, and contrast with the approach taken by GIE Media. That Cleveland-based company has kept their apps out of the Newsstand, but created native tablet editions using the Adobe DPS platform. Those apps, though, do not contain any qualification mechanism, making the digital editions open to anyone who wants to access them.
It is hard to say which approach is best, but it is sad to know that after more than four years since the launch of the original iPad, and almost three years since the launch of the Newsstand, there is still no qualification mechanism for B2B publishers to utilize within tablet or mobile apps. I would think this would be a priority… but obviously not.