There’s been a fair bit written about Conde Nast’s Gourmet Live application (actually, not sure it is an app or just a website, but never mind for now). Most commentators have taken the bait given in the claim that the app introduces “gaming” to the magazine. Well, I’ve just watched the video (see below), and the only “gaming” I see is that if I do certain things, I am “rewarded” with access to content that other people can’t see.
So let me see if I understand this. Gourmet Live is hiding some content from most users (so isn’t this a kind of paywall I can’t see?). And if I do things in a certain Gourmet-approved kind of way, I get to see that content.
This is wrong for two reasons. One, it hides content away, so all the paywall arguments apply here, but doubly so, because at least there’s a simple way to unlock paywalled content – by paying. Here, I have to jump through some hoops.
And there’s the second problem. It changes the relationship between publisher and reader. It makes the reader a kind of supplicant, willing to perform tasks to get treats. And, frankly, it’s just a magazine, you know? Who can be bothered?
And another, unrelated, thing. All these new magazine apps have TONS of video and TONS of photography. Who’s paying for all that stuff?