January 22, 2016 Last Updated 7:55 am

Magzter issues bug fix update, previous update introduced ‘Articles’ to digital mag platform

The digital magazine newsstand Magzter today issued a bug fix update to its digital magazine app. Users had complained that since the previous update, released on January 18, that they had experienced issues with the app.

Magzter magazines iPadToday’s update brings the app up to version 6.1.

Monday’s update, version 6.0, introduced ‘Articles’. This is a similar idea to what Next Issue Media introduced with Texture: individual articles are pulled out of the digital magazines and can be read by users of the app separately from the replica editions. Hopefully, the reader will want to read more articles from the same magazine and move on to download the full issue. But, in any case, the idea is that modern readers, especially young ones, read content in snippets, so Magzter will give them magazine content more in line with the way people read today. Or, at least, that is the idea.

The problem with the concept is the curation: does the app pull in the stories the user actually will be interested in.

Magzter’s app asks users to pick a number of subject of interest such as News, Business, Cooking and Travel. Then the app is supposed to display stories appropriate for the reader’s interests.

I chose the four topics listed above, but the app pulled in these stories: How to Hypnotize Yourself in 7 Easy Steps, The Future of Pets, and The Miley Show – not exactly the topics I chose. Had the articles come from News, Business, Cooking or Travel magazines I might have chalked this up to bad luck. But the articles came in from Men’s Fitness, The Atlantic and Marie Claire UK. With the exception of The Atlantic I don’t see how these magazines would have been chosen for me.

  • John Paris 9 months ago

    Dear Mr. Hebbard, I head up Product for Magzter. I’m sorry you had a less than perfect experience with our app and this feedback is invaluable to us.

    Please let me clarify that choosing Interests on our app affects our Magazine Newsstand, not the new Articles section; it helps readers find the magazines they want out of the 7,000+ titles that we have. After selecting the categories News, Business, Cooking and Travel as you did you will see those four categories as section headers on the tablet homepage or on the Magazines page on a phone, with all our magazines fitting those categories displayed underneath each header.

    Our new Articles section opens to a “Featured” section that is editorially curated by us; the stories you mentioned were selected because of their quality, timeliness and relevance to generally trending topics. There are also sections for U.S. and World News articles along with Business, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and Travel. The articles section can’t be personalized at this time, however we are looking at introducing this functionality in a future release.

    My takeaway from your comments is that we are not making it clear enough to the user that choosing Interests applies to Magazines while the Articles are curated by Magzter, and we will be looking very closely at how we can address this; so again, I greatly appreciate your taking the time to try our app and share your experience with it.

    I also feel that what sets us apart from our competitors, some of whom are similarly unbundling magazines to surface individual articles, is that we are extracting the article elements and reassembling them in responsive HTML that formats beautifully on any device, including phones. More and more users are reading on phones today, especially now that many devices have slightly larger screens, and to us it just didn’t make sense to surface articles only to give them to users on a digitized magazine page with the same pinch and zoom experience they’ve been getting with digital replicas. We are unique among our competitors in this respect.

    Kindest Regards,
    John Paris
    VP of Product
    Magzter Inc.

  • Heather Young 9 months ago

    Articles are not new in the digital publishing realm. We (BlueToad) have offered Lily enhanced articles for our clients starting in June of last year. Our services are not tied to the app experience but work with both browsers and our app solution. Curation is not something we currently provide but I could see how tagging content or relying on manual workflows for content creation could create the issues above especially in the beginning of a new service that builds on a history of content. It’s possible that as new articles are created the search would serve up better results?