Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Washington Post updates its WP Politics iPad app to add in comments and user issue positions

The Washington Post's election app, WP Politics, just kees getting better and better – which is more than can be said for the paper itself. While columnists like Jennifer Rubin have become Internet memes (never a good thing), the iPad app shows what can be done when a very good developer is employed.

In this case, the developer is Bottle Rocket, the developer of plenty of very good apps inside the App Store.

Today the app was updated to add in the ability to read and post comments, a feature that honestly should have been there all along. The update also adds some important customization tools, including the ability to map your own positions so that you can compare them to the candidates.

Another new feature is one I have my doubts about: "Founding Fathers" uses the work of historian Jake Rakove to map the positions of people long dead – whatever.

The app description also notes that while users can share their election predictions using Twitter and email, it apologizes for the fact that you can't use Facebook. Presumably this will be added later.

The app is a really good one, and one that is solely supported by advertising. If the same app was from the NYT one would guess that they would want it to be accessible only to those with some level of paid digital subscription. Here, of course, it is free.

Apps like this one, though, can definitely be used to justify a paid subscription – even if that subscription is nominal. Here is where I turn into a paywall advocate: offer your readers lots of features and continuously new applications and readers can justify paying. Continue to deliver content that has them laughing in the aisles and you'll have a tough time justifying building a wall.