The Masked Social Network

Effec­tively Instapa­per has found a way to keep its users engaged with the site’s main pur­pose, read­ing, while offer­ing users ways of keep­ing tabs other read­ers. It’s like get­ting a peek at some­one else’s book­case, with­out them know­ing that you peeked.

Imag­ine what would hap­pen if Twit­ter oper­ated this way: you have no inkling of who is fol­low­ing you and oth­ers have no clue if you are fol­low­ing them. You just have an account that you post to, occa­sion­ally a per­son responds to you. The only way you know if a per­son is fol­low­ing you is when you go to Direct Mes­sage them.

Imag­ine that, because what would really change?

Ben Brooks — The Masked Social Net­work.

The downside to outsourcing subscriptions

Ben Brooks has writ­ten two great posts about Apple’s plan to take 30% of sub­scrip­tion rev­enues sold through its App Store. In the first one he notes:

Apple is giv­ing you an out from cus­tomer ser­vice. If some­one needs to unsub­scribe or has issues with their sub­scrip­tion — it is no longer your prob­lem, Apple needs to fix that.

While that can cer­tainly be seen as a ben­e­fit for small iOS devel­op­ment shops or small pub­li­ca­tions it’s a dan­ger­ous risk for a busi­ness to take.

When users strug­gle with your pay­ment gate­way or feel that you’re unwill­ing to pro­vide a refund or can­cel­la­tion when things go wrong you are dead in the water. No money, no business.

iOS devel­op­ers already give Apple con­trol over a lot of the finan­cial side of their busi­ness. Now Apple will con­trol the down­load­ing, billing, recur­ring sub­scrip­tion charges, and unsub­scrip­tion process/support.

App devel­op­ers will be pass­ing more con­trol over the rev­enue side of their busi­nesses to Apple, who is prob­a­bly not focused on craft­ing the same happy expe­ri­ences for your pay­ing users.