'The Daily' News App (Unofficially) Available for Free Online
Whatever he's doing right now, Rupert Murdoch probably has steam coming out of his ears.
Yesterday (Feb. 3), just one day after the News Corp. chairman launched The Daily, an iPad-only newspaper app with a $.99 cent-per-week subscription rate, a website began linking to the newspaper's content free of charge.
In addition to appearing to subscribers on iPads, The Daily's articles are found online at The Daily's website. But there is no way to access these articles from the website's homepage, and there is no convenient table of contents for viewing them either. Plus, previous days' editions of the digital newspaper do not remain accessible via the app.
These online versions of The Daily's articles exist merely so subscribers can share the stories via social media such as Facebook, Twitter and so on.
So what The Daily: Indexed does is scrounge up all of these backdoor links to the digital newspaper's old and new online articles.
Because none of the content is hidden behind a digital wall requiring users to pay, the site isn't technically violating copyright laws, but much of the point of someone bothering to download the app becomes moot.
"Anybody else think it's weird that The Daily . . . posts almost every article to their official website . . . but with no index of the articles to be found?" wrote Andy Baio, the creator of The Daily: Indexed, on his blog at waxy.org. "[News Corp.] spent $30 [million] on it, but apparently forgot a homepage!"
Circumventing The Daily's daily edition paywall with an off-site table of contents might not bode well for the publication's business model. The innovative digital newspaper reportedly costs $500,000 a week to run and has 100 journalists on staff in a bold attempt at "new journalism," as the newspaper brands itself.
Then again, allowing people without iPads – or those who don't feel like ponying up a buck a week just yet on a new media experiment – to check out The Daily's content might garner some subscriptions; indeed, The Daily: Indexed does encourage its visitors to subscribe to the digital newspaper.
And of course, a big part of the intended experience with The Daily is the act of perusing its iPad-optimized interface and graphics, an aesthetic that's lost when reading articles piecemeal online. Murdoch is surely hoping readers find the touch-navigated layout more appealing than the finger-dirtying, origami -like paper-folding necessary to read the traditional, physical newspapers that have been in decline for years.