Thursday, June 9, 2011

Question: why do so many news sites have to quote others in regard to Apple's developer guidelines?

Whether they have intended to or not, quite a number of media news websites (and magazines) have revealed a rather startling fact today: they don't have access to direct information about Apple's developer guidelines because they are not developers themselves.

First a definition: an Apple developer is someone who has registered with Apple and paid the $99 fee to become part of the program. One does not need to actually create an app themselves. So if you want to know what is in the guidelines one simply signs in and looks at the guidelines themselves.
But unfortunately it appears that those who write for many of the leading news sites that report about such matters are completely left out in the dark and desperately in need of others with access to the developer site in order to write their stories. It is as if I were writing a recap of yesterday's Giants game (they won) without seeing the game myself, only reading reports from other sources.

Do you find this shocking? I have to admit that I do. Not everyone who writes about apps will be a registered Apple developer, but I would think that those who write about the subject of app development guidelines might consider it a good idea to become one. I certainly would not employ a reporter to cover the subject without this little detail being taken care of, would you?

No wonder then that so much misinformation is being posted today. I don't demand that the reporter that covers the Giants has been a baseball player in the past, just that he knows the rules of the game. It especially helps when the subject of the story is . . . the rules of the game.


Anonymous said...

I think the reason why they quote others is not really due to cost but covering their own butt. This way they can quote someone else as the source because the information itself is Confidential, they don't want to get into any issues with Apple.
Also this gives them a chance to spin the information with their own take on it, spin it to fit their own agenda.
Even if the headline doesn't match the content, they can say whatever to draw eyeballs to their page.

Rob Grainger said...

It's an interesting point, Douglas. As an experienced publisher you'll know the reality of how fast technology reporting has to work. Journalists are reliant on information from developers and from Apple's press releases (in this case). The game is moving and changing so quickly that the only real authority here can be either a spokesperson from Apple (which is unlikely) or a seasoned developer with a hands on knowledge of Apple's policies. Part of the problem this week has been that many developers and bystanders have misunderstood what they've heard or read from Apple and, equally, many people want to create a story, particularly one that involves conspiracy theory or corporate misdemeanour. As developers here we're pleased that Apple are making strides in the right direction and giving flexibility. They seem to have responded to demands from media owners (in particular) and I can't understand where the problem lies. The fact is, most online blogs and commentaries have come from people who clearly haven't read their documentation properly and have fired off armed with misinformation. We're not affiliated to Apple in any way and we've no interest in either defending or attacking them, but we're struggling to understand the tirade. We've been contacted by a number of journalists asking for our help in unravelling this particular story and we're happy to assist. Keeping a perspective on the rumours surrounding iOS 5 is far more calming and healthy for business. My view on this is that a journalist who contacts developers looking to investigate facts and opinion is, in fact, doing their job well. It would be unfair to expect the larger press to have access to developer accounts, but I do hear what your saying.
Interesting blogs by the way, we've enjoyed reading them.

Douglas Hebbard said...

I'm sorry that Rob's comment got stuck in Blogger's spam folder and only got published four days after it was submitted. I try to clear out the spam folder on a regular basis but occasionally forget.