Apple Loosens the Reins on Digital Subscription Sales

Earlier this year, Apple launched a program that allowed digital magazine publishers to easily sell subscriptions through iTunes. Unfortunately, the deal came with some hefty restrictions that made it hard for small publishers to make a profit. Now, Apple has decided to relax the rules and in turn, will probably make more money than ever.

The original rule required publishers who used iPad or iPhone apps to sell their subscriptions through the app, giving Apple a 30% cut. Under the new rules, this is no longer a requirement.

Even harsher was a requirement stating that publishers who did sell through iTunes, couldn’t offer a cheaper alternative anywhere else, including their own websites. The new rules allow publishers to set the price points any way they see fit.

When it Comes to Advice People Prefer Strangers Over Friends

We’ve all been told not to take candy from strangers, but advice is a whole different matter. According to a new report from Meebo, more than half the people surveyed went to someone they didn’t know when looking for advice on the web.

Here are some of the stats:

  • 53% of people said they want to get advice from someone who is knowledgeable about a topic, but whom they don’t know.
  • More than a third of the population (38%) turn to anonymous sources for product and service recommendations.
  • 41% of people would prefer to connect with “everyday experts” on travel information, whereas only 17% would turn to people they already know.
  • 43% would turn to unknowns for recipes or cooking-related content, while only 22% would connect with people they know.

Samit Says Social Gaming Killed the Soaps

For years, moms across the US took a break in the afternoons to watch the soaps on TV. It was their “me” time while the kids were in school and their husband was at work. A time to relax and drift away to another world where they didn’t have to worry about bills, dinner or family squabbles.

Now, says Jay Samit, CEO of SocialVibe, they turn to social gaming instead. He says social games have become the modern “Calgon Moment” for busy women who often feel life spiraling out of control around them.

“Now she can have the perfect farm or restaurant, a world that’s in order and it’s a very peaceful experience. That’s what killed the soap opera.”

Truth, Justice and the Millennial Way

Older generations often think of the younger generation as frivolous, fun-lovers who don’t know the meaning of hard work and sacrifice. Ask that younger generation how they see themselves and you’ll get a whole different answer.

The McCann Worldgroup has a new study called “Truth About Youth” and it’s essential reading for anyone marketing to millennials. 7000 young people from around the world were asked questions about what they value in life, how and why they connect with others and how they want to be viewed by others.

The concepts that popped up most often could all be categorized on the same page of the thesaurus: honesty, truth, authenticity, genuine. This crowd can spot a fake without ever looking up from their iPhone and that’s bad for brands who think they can reel them in with hype and hoopla.

MTV Study Says 83% of Users Are Addicted to Apps

What would you give up in order to keep your favorite phone apps? Coffee? Chocolate? Lunch? That’s one of the questions MTV asked as part of their new study, “Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em: Adoption, Abandonment and the App-Addled Consumer.”

They began with 1,300 self-reported daily mobile app users and added in a bunch of interviews with app consumers and found that people were pretty hardcore in their belief that apps have changed their lives.

83% of people in the study said they were addicted to apps and one (someone who is my kindred spirit) said “apps are like Xanax in a phone.”

Online Ad Spending Climbs Higher Than Expected

We were happy when eMarketer predicted a 10.5% rise in online ad spending back in December 2010. Now, they’ve revised that number, saying the increase will be more like 20%.

How does that translate into dollars? Try $31.3 billion spent on online advertising this year.

eMarketer principal analyst David Hallerman says:

“The internet has become as fundamental as television to advertisers. As consumers continue to increase their time spent online and as a resurgent economy continues to bolster ad budgets, we’re going to continue to see an influx of dollars toward the internet. More ad formats, such as video, and more channels, especially social media and mobile, are also key contributors to the spending gains.”

Groupon Gets into the Grocery Biz

Groupon is big on restaurant discounts but for those of you who would rather eat at home, they also have a deal for you. This week, Groupon began testing a new feature that adds deals to grocery store loyalty cards.

They began the experiment at the Big Y Deal stores in Springfield, MA. It’s a $39.99 Summer Seafood Grill Pack for $24. When you hit the buy button, instead of getting a printable coupon, the deal is loaded on to your store loyalty card and automatically comes off when you check out.

That’s the theory.

I’ve been using ecoupons on my Ralphs grocery store loyalty card and it’s a very confusing process. You have to assume that most people will be doing a full shopping run, not just picking up this deal, so making sure you actually get your discount will take some effort. And can I say, $16 off? That’s the best they could do?