Friday, December 17, 2010

“What the tablet does, for the first time, is let us hit the reset button on the presentation of content to readers.”

Mike McCue, CEO of Flipboard, in Web format has ‘contaminated’ online journalism | Technology | Los Angeles Times

Does it, though? It’s not the web that contaminated journalism. It’s measurable performance and the need to pay journalists. It’s perfectly possible to create attractive web pages that are clean and uncluttered. It’s just they don’t pay the bills. Users have shown a continued reluctance to pay for copy, leaving few viable alternatives to advertising.

Yes, the advertising is often ugly and intrusive. Of course—give advertisers the ability to accurately gauge just how effective their adverts are, and this will inevitably be the result. Tasteful, inoffensive, and ignorable doesn’t actually work.

Maybe they’ll change their mind on tablets, but it’s not something I would count on—such a change of heart certainly isn’t apparent from early tablet experiments. The same pressures—a desire to monetize, an inability to charge for content, a strong ability to track advertising efficacy—will influence tablet software given time.