Originally Posted by tommyhart
Apple needs to sit down and ask itself, "If this person subscribed to a physical magazine what information would naturally have to be given to the seller?"
Tracking every click, may be a problem but basic demographics should not be an issue. Apple is the middle man, the company whose product is being used has the right to all information. If anyone should have limited access it should be Apple. Apple is just the medium through which the product is sold. Nothing more.
The problem is that most of what the magazine folks tell you about the demographics information they "need" is complete BS. People are assuming that the magazine publishers are being straight with us, that they are just like any other business, and that they have "readerships" that care about the magazine articles and stuff like that when almost none of that is true.
The "demographic information" they want is really just your name, address, phone number and credit card information. Sure they like to know if the readership of this or that magazine is made up mostly of kids, teens, or adults, but they can easily get that from surveys as well. What they really want is just "who's reading it, and what's their credit info." This information is sold
to their advertisers and others. It's pretty much the whole purpose of the magazine. The reason there are different types of magazines and that the categories break along "lifestyle" lines, is that the advertisers want to know the credit information of this or that "type" of consumer (are you a housewife? are you gay? are you a doctor? etc. etc.). The magazine types conform to the demographic categories that the advertisers want to sell to.
With magazines, mostly you are buying a few usually quite thin "articles" that are mostly written by hacks and mostly repeat information that is freely available almost anywhere. Roughly 50% or more of the magazine is the advertisements. Even though usually the presence of advertisements makes something cheap or free, in the case of magazines, people (for some stupid reason), actually *PAY* their own money for the privilege
of being advertised to. Not only that, magazines are almost the most expensive form of media there is in terms of what you get back for your dollar.
Magazines exist for those advertisements, the other stuff changes year to year and month to month depending on what it is that will get people to look at the advertisements. They want to know just enough information to be able to target you with products. That's pretty much the entire point of the whole industry. The primary "customer" of the average magazine, isn't the consumers that buy them, but the advertisers that place the ads in them. That's who magazines exist for and who determines the shape, content and general outlook of the magazine.
Selling your information and your basic demographics to advertisers
is pretty much the entire point of magazines. It always has been and always will be that way. That's why even before the digital age, magazines are mostly sold by subscription and why every single magazine you ever picked up has a cardboard insert that tells you how much cheaper it would be if you *subscribed* to the magazine instead of buying it at the store.