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Mobile Apps, the NYT and Money
March 22, 2010 - 9:56pm

The NYTimes should monetize its mobile app by integrating 3rd party shopping carts / wish lists from trusted partners such as Amazon, BN, Netflix, iTunes and others.

Currently, if I'm reading the Times on my Touch and come across a book I might want to buy (happens each week when reading the Sunday Book Review), I need to go out of the NYTimes app, fire up my Amazon app, search for the book, and then return back to the Times app. Makes no sense. Why doesn't the NYTimes give me the option of choosing which of the online stores I frequently shop at will be integrated into my Times app?

The way this would need to work is that my actual Amazon wish list / shopping cart and my actual Netflix que (and other stores comparable areas) must be embedded and synced to my Times App. The shopping cart / wish list must be modular enough to be a piece of any app where the user wants the services integrated. I'm not sure if app development is going this way, or the standards exist to break-off the wish list / shopping cart and integrate them with an app (can someone enlighten?). As a user, I want to stay in my NYTimes app, seamlessly placing items into my stores for immediate or later purchase.

This method would insure that the NYTimes got credit for any subsequent purchase, as I would not need to complete the purchase through the NYTimes app for the partner store to know where the original action occurred. Again, this would have to be opt-in - with hopefully a wide range of reputable partners being available for integration into the app.

Why bother thinking about ways that the NYTimes can make money? (This is in fact my second post about a small idea to bring dollars to the Times, and I hope you will share your ideas). The reason is that I hate the idea of any paywalls, as any barriers to content will be the fastest way to make this material irrelevant to students and difficult to utilize for education. One of our big jobs is to find ways we can reduce barriers to educational content, whether this content lives in our academic libraries or is found online. We should be looking for ways to support open content wherever and whenever we can.

What are your ideas to help the Times remain free?


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