Publishers caught in the middle of Apple-Google, App-Web divide

“Apple wants mobile devices to be filled with apps,” Katie Benner and Conor Dougherty report for The New York Times. “Google supports a world where people browse the web for most things. Now websites are increasingly caught in the middle of those competing visions.”

“Consider The Atavist Magazine, an online publication run by Evan Ratliff. To attract the broadest audience possible, Mr. Ratliff said he felt pressure to do everything twice: once for the web and once for the magazine’s app,” Benner and Dougherty report. “But maintaining a website and getting readers for it while also building an audience of iPhone users with an app took time — too much time, Mr. Ratliff said. So last month, The Atavist shut down its app and decided to publish only on the web.”

“The two tech giants’ competing visions have a common denominator: money. Apple’s main business is selling devices, so it favors apps that make its iPhone a must for consumers. Google makes its money showing people ads that are tailored to their web searches, so it favors a free and open web,” Benner and Dougherty report. “The competing strategies have made it particularly tough for publishers, which straddle apps and the web more than most mobile categories. That is because publishers tend to use apps to cater to the most loyal users and use the web to be found by new readers. As a result, many have invested lots of time and money on a website and an app, which is a huge burden for small publishers that cannot afford a large technology staff.”

“That situation has been made even harder by some recent moves by Apple and Google. Last month, Apple enabled ads to be blocked on mobile websites on iPhones and iPads, which threatened to hurt publishers that relied on such ads for revenue” Benner and Dougherty report. “And next month, Google will start penalizing websites that use pop-up screens to promote their apps by placing them lower in search engine results, a move that some have called ‘app blocking.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple wants to protect users’ private information and Google wants users’ private information in order to track them so that that sell more valuable advertising. Those two different business models are diametrically opposed, leaving some publishers trying to cover a lot of ground with limited resources.

As we wrote last week: After years of stagnation and ever-more-awful ad networks, ’tis very interesting times indeed for online publishers, visitors, advertisers, app makers, and advertising entities like Google, Apple’s iAd, Facebook, etc.

AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages are Google’s response to ad blockers and news apps like Apple News – October 15, 2015
Google’s new Accelerated Mobile Pages meant to keep users in Web browsers and out of dedicated apps
Following Apple News, Google preps Accelerated Mobile Pages – October 7, 2015
Apple News is fast, responsive, enjoyable, and it might become your only news app – July 15, 2015
Apple News shows that Apple wants to bolster and profit from ads, not eliminate them – July 10, 2015
Apple News to have human curation – and that raises issues – June 15, 2015
How Apple’s mobile ad-blocker could backfire on the company and iPhone, iPad users – June 12, 2015
Hats off to Web advertising – no, really – July 6, 2015
Apple’s support of mobile ad blocking may upend how the web works – June 12, 2015


    1. While Google is officially doing the ad business which is always financed by money made of subprime products OR expensive products…

      ….Apple is doing it on behalf of its strategic partners.

      You don’t know who that is?

      I love you and don’t you forget it;)

    2. I agree, cocoanuck. Google favors internet/web activity in general. However, Google’s involvement makes the web less free and open.

      I get so tired of people equating Google with “free and open” goodness.

    1. I agree. There’s an upper limit of usefulness when it comes to apps, and that’s something that Apple doesn’t really get. After a while, it’s just not ergonomic to have to have an app for every single little thing. If you care enough about something and you’re going to use it frequently, sure, an app saves you time, but most of the time, apps aren’t any improvement over a website.

      There’s also no need to do things twice. Know your audience and optimize accordingly.

    2. Dumb Guy, Poster,

      Apple is not forcing anyone to make a app.
      For apps that are available, Apple is not forcing you to download them.
      If you download them, you don’t have to use them.
      You can always visit the company’s website.

      If you want to petulantly whine about something, at least make it something vaguely within the realms that might be called “reality”.

    3. I abhor most ‘mobile’ versions of websites. All too often ‘mobile’ websites are oversimplified and limiting. My mobile browser (Safari for iOS) doesn’t need a simplified site. Feed me the real thing!!

      1. Indeed! All this crazy fuss about “mobile”! For me, part of the whole point of iPhones and iPads is that I can just look at full websites – not cut-down, crippled versions of them. I thought we’d left that crappyness when the first iPhone hit the world.

        Pre-iPhone – “You’ve got to get a WAP version of your website immediately, or your business is doomed.”

        Now – “”You’ve got to get a mobile version of your website immediately, or your business is doomed.”

    4. I install the app, if there is one, for a website that I haunt every day, like hsn, qvc, mlb, or mdn. As for the rest, I tolerate the ads on the website until I become insulted at their cavalier, even bullying treatment of a potential customer, and quit them. I’ll gamely meet a vendor halfway if the value proposition is fair, but we all know there is scrubbage behind the scenes in most of these businesses, and Google’s infiltrated most of ’em, anaesthetising you so’s you don’t feel your vitals being slowly extracted.

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