One of the most overblown and exaggerated customer "benefits" of Apple's new iOS app subscription rules is the policy that subscribers must give their explicit permission, or "opt in," to let publishers know their name, email address and zip code.
As discussed previously, there is no real benefit from keeping the publisher in the dark -- publishers use the information for such nefarious purposes as learning more about their readers, convincing advertisers to pay more thus making the subscription price lower and sending resubscription offers. And anyone who does care can "opt out" of data sharing under traditional subscription plans.
But I probably don't want to rehash that whole argument here. See the earlier post.
I did want to point out a piece in the New York Times today where the head of the Financial Times explains why customer data is important and how they use it. He ends with a prediction/threat:
Mr. Ridding, who sees mobile devices like phones and tablet computers as one of the next big areas of digital growth for The FT, said customer data were essential to achieving these ambitions. Indeed, mobile access to the paper, which sells a single, cross-platform digital package, was a big reason for the jump in digital subscriptions last year, he said.
Mr. Ridding said The FT was considering joining Google’s new One Pass subscription system, which will take a commission of 10 percent and share customer data with publishers.
An iPad without The FT in its digital newsstand might be a losing proposition for both parties. Yet if Apple sticks to its position, Mr. Ridding said, “it would be a shame, not just for us, but for the broader ecosystem that has developed in recent years around these devices. “It requires some thought before harm is done.”
-NYT, March 7, 2011