Blogger Ian Betteridge, who has worked in the magazine industry, has something John Gruber lacks: knowledge from experience. The Financial Times tried to explain yet again what's wrong with Apple's over-controlling iOS subscription rules. Gruber fired back with his latest inaccurate whine that the FT folks "don't want their subscribers to have any control over their customer privacy."
Aside from having the basic facts wrong (newspapers have opt-out privacy policies not no privacy policies), Gruber's whole premise is wrong, Betteridge points out. The FT doesn't want to sell the data to anyone else -- they want to aggregate it in fine detail to convince their own advertisers to pay higher rates.
The more you know about your readers, the more valuable your ads. The problem with the Apple model, which the FT is correct in highlighting, is that it effectively breaks the relationship you have with subscribers, which lets you increase the cost of your ads.
For a publication like the FT, where you’re reaching a high-value, affluent audience, this is doubly-true. And when you consider that direct online channels will ultimately allow you to target ads which are personalised to individual subscribers (and thus get higher response rates and higher value), it’s easy to see why the FT wants to hold on to that subscriber relationship.
-Technovia blog, April 5, 2011 (via Michael Tsai)
And, by the way, if the presentation of privacy choices is so critical, I guess Gruber will soon be blasting Apple for not having an opt-in choice at installation clearly listing all the personal data a new will app will access? Google's got it set up that way.