Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NewBay Media work to piss off their readers, one app at a time; reader complaints consistent across mag portfolio

If a publisher releases a badly buggy magazine app, one that prevents readers from actually buying the issues you would think they would stop before releasing more tablet editions using the same system – unless, of course, the publisher isn't paying attention to reader reviews inside the App Store.

NewBay Media today released a new app for its title Guitar Player that is bound to frustrate both loyal readers and new ones alike.
Guitar Player Magazine++ opens to a message that the user must fill their library with issues the Catalog, the bottom middle button in the app. The app gives on the impression that ads are free because an option to download immediately is apparent.

OK, so nextyou download the issue, that does not mean you can read it. Instead one is presented with an option to log into the app or Purchase. But pressing the purchase button gives you a warning message "Product Not Found." At that point you have to back out of the dialog and go back to the Catalog to subscribe.

When I did that I received the error message you see at left-above. Actually, it's not an error message so much as an endless working message.

Hard closing the app improves the situation somewhat as eventually I was able to reach a dialogue box that told me that my only option to buy Guitar Player through the app was through an annual subscription of $18.99.

Are all the NewBay Media apps this bad? Apparently so. Reviews of all the other magazine apps released are exclusively negative, even though some of the apps were released as far back as August 1.

It's probably just as well. The publishers appears highly disinterested in the tablet platform and was probably dragged into the format kicking and screaming. Each app has only one screenshot of the digital edition and based on the covers it looks like no adjustments were made for the tablet editions. Paying for an annual subscription to a buggy replica edition is not my idea of enjoyable reading – and I'm sure readers of these magazines feel the same way (at least that is what their reviews are saying).


Tablazines said...

Yeah it's definitely the publishers don't care about these tablet editions otherwise they would have forced NewBay Media to rectify these issues.

By the same token NewBay Media has to know of the problems with their apps. They obviously don't care either.

I would never patronize any of these companies.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I downloaded the app it was nothing but a hassle. Delete.

Bill Amstutz said...


Thanks for you interest in our tablet editions, and for acknowledging the challenges that publishers face in creating compelling apps for iPads.

Obviously, I disagree with many of your assertions, especially when you declare that NewBay is disinterested in the tablet platform and not paying attention to reader feedback. We are making a significant commitment to tablet publishing; we have more than a dozen iPad versions now, and will be rolling out at least a dozen more over the next six months. Plans are also in place to create enhanced versions of certain brands when it makes economic sense.

I do agree that we have made mistakes and encountered challenges that are frustrating to our readers and subscribers. We are working diligently on solving these problems, and have encountered significant roadblocks that might be interesting to your readers.

We launched a number of NewBay iPad versions in January of 2012 using a third party developer. A few months after the launch, that developer went out of business and we needed to find a new resource. Unfortunately, Apple does not allow for an easy transfer of subscriber data when a publisher switches developers. In fact, there is no support at all from Apple to make this switch. Therefore, we worked with a new developer to create a new app and are now attempting as best we can to communicate with our current subscribers through the old app. We are being extremely generous to everyone who downloads the new app. We allow them to download free back issues without questioning their subscription.

The problems you encountered with our old and new app have been identified and are being addressed by our developers.

The publisher’s challenge changing iPad developers is a story that would make a great article for your readers. If you want more specifics about our challenges I’d be happy to speak with you, and direct you to my team members who have been working in the trenches on this for the past many months.

I hope you will continue to support NewBay’s efforts in this area and let us know how we are doing.



Bill Amstutz
VP, Publishing Director - Music Group
NewBay Media LLC
212.378.0411 (Office)
646.701.3526 (Mobile)
Guitar World * Guitar Player * Guitar Aficionado
Bass Player * Keyboard * Electronic Musician * Revolver

Anonymous said...

Yes if you want a good magazine about live audio download the Front of HOUSE app. It really works and they don't charge or it.