I’d buy that for a penny! #WSJ

How WSJ advertises their iPhone app

How it actually appears (unpaid version) on my iPod

For some time I’ve been meaning to do a post about the Wall Street Journal app on my iPod. I think it was back in July 2011 when I took the screenshot shown above (on the right).

Notice what is peculiar about it? Here’s a little hint:

Without further ado, here are some excerpts from my official review of the WSJ app for iOS devices.

It’s the best goddamn app for showing locked content (keys) that I’ve ever seen in my whole fucking life.
–Tom B. Taker

Seriously. If you love little key icons you’re going to love this app.
–Tom B. Taker

This app will make you lose your shit. If you can unlock anything in it, that is.
–Tom B. Taker

Finally! The Wall Street Journal has taken the time-honored model of frustrating customers and achieved sublime perfection.
–Tom B. Taker

So many keys – you’ll think you’re on a vacation in Florida! And that’s an economical vacation!
–Tom B. Taker

I’d post the review in full, but unfortunately that is restricted content. Lucky for you it’s only $9.99. Send me your credit card information and I’ll pass it along.

Now obviously I could pay money and remove those little locked icons. How much would you pay? Well, for that priviledge the WSJ wants $1.99 a week. (That’s about $103/year.) Or you could get the actual print version delivered to your door six days a week for $2.29 a week. (About $119/year.)

Yep. That’s right. Go online and save the trees, gas, and cost of paying a human being to schlep a physical object to you and you’ll save a whopping 13 percent. Erm, 13 percent? Say what?

Yes, here we have the WSJ model that web content should be almost the same price as traditional distribution.

Now how much would you pay?

Wait! Before you answer, check this out. What if you could only pay one penny? Then would you be interested?

In a story this morning The Guardian reports on a WSJ scam that cost an executive his job. (Is The Guardian one of the hundreds of media owned by Rupert Murdoch? I’m not sure. There are so many it’s hard to keep them straight. Luckily there’s an app for that! Good news – they’re not!)

In wake of the scandal, the European Publishing Chief for the WSJ resigned. The Guardian reports that under the scheme WSJ newspapers were sold for one cent each in a bid to increase circulation numbers.

By the way, in case anyone forgets, the WSJ is owned by News Corp. and Rupert Murdoch. (Why do I feel like I should be referring to him as He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named?) Shudder!

Anywho, under the scheme, companies who sponsored the WSJ paid a reduced “knock-down” rate of 5 cents or less per newspaper. In the case of a Dutch company known as Executive Learning Partnership (ELP), the rate was 1 cent per newspaper for 12,000 sponsored purchases per day.

The Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) eventually determined that the scheme was responsible for 41% of the daily circulation the WSJ claimed in Europe, about 31,000 copies out of a total of 75,000.

Things fell apart when ELP complained they were not getting enough return on their investment. Gee, ya think? Perhaps it isn’t wise to invest in a newspaper that artificially inflates its circulation numbers, eh? To placate ELP, the WSJ executive created an addendum to their contract, and it is that addendum that The Guardian reports led to his resignation.

The Guardian found evidence that the Journal had been channelling money through European companies in order to secretly buy thousands of copies of its own paper at a knock-down rate, misleading readers and advertisers about the Journal’s true circulation.

The bizarre scheme included a formal, written contract in which the Journal persuaded one company to co-operate by agreeing to publish articles that promoted its activities, a move which led some staff to accuse the paper’s management of violating journalistic ethics and jeopardising its treasured reputation for editorial quality.

Source: The Guardian

Ethics? Reputation? Editorial quality? Those are not words one normally associates with something owned by the likes of Rupert Murdoch.

The highly controversial activities were organised in London and focused on the Journal’s European edition, which circulates in the EU, Russia, and Africa. Senior executives in New York, including Murdoch’s right-hand man, Les Hinton, were alerted to the problems last year by an internal whistleblower and apparently chose to take no action. The whistleblower was then made redundant.

Don’t you hate it when you get made “redundant?” I know I do! (Or did I already say that?)

If Rupert Murdock is involved, why do I feel that even a mere penny is too much to pay?

4 responses

  1. Everything Murdoch touches is soiled. They haven’t pinned anything on him yet, but he sure fosters an environment where deception and dishonesty flourish.

    Like

    1. I believe it. In this case, they pin stuff all the way up the chain of command to his “right-hand man.” (Reported by The Guardian.)

      I won’t be surprised to find out that the dude is ethical as a greasy snake. Things like the culture within companies tend to flow downhill. The leader sets the tone. There are unwritten laws. You know, our old friend, plausible deniability and all that jolly good stuff.

      All the bad apples in News Corp. obviously didn’t fall far from the Murdoch tree.

      Like

  2. “…violating journalistic ethics and jeopardising its treasured reputation for editorial quality.”

    That’s the funniest piece of writing I’ve seen in a long time. Thanks for the chuckle. 🙂

    Like

    1. You’re welcome! Sometimes when I string a series of words together I get lucky and they can actually entertain. A rare phenomenon to be sure!

      One thing is certain: The WSJ has been tainted by the taint of that tunt Rupert Murdoch.

      Like

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