Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Some Web Publishers Take a Pass on the iPad Launch

Lots of publishers scrambled to prep their Web sites for the Apple iPad debut. But not all of them.

Magazine trade pub Minonline has a gallery of sites that didn’t work for iPad users this weekend, presumably because they use Adobe’s Flash, which doesn’t work on the Web browser Apple uses on its gadget. One was Condé Nast’s GQ, whose front page has an item promoting…its iPad app:

Digital Daily’s John Paczkowski, a proud iPad owner, tells me that the GQ front page now looks okay from the browser of his new machine. Except if you try to play the video promoting the GQ iPad app, in which case you’ll get this message:

So that’s a little embarrassing. But not a big deal, really, since the effect of Apple (AAPL) and Adobe’s (ADBE) spat won’t be visible to most Web surfers. The iPad’s installed base, after all, is around 300,000.

In fact there, were only a few of reasons to have your site ready for the iPad on Saturday:

  • The chance to earn corporate bragging rights.
  • The chance to get on Apple’s good side and perhaps earn a spot on Apple’s “iPad ready” list. Though I know of at least one publisher that worked overtime to overhaul its site, at Apple’s prodding, and that still isn’t on the list.
  • The chance to earn a big pile of advertising dollars from marketers who wanted to be associated with the iPad’s launch.

That last one is the most compelling, of course. But my understanding is that this was a pretty binary proposition. Either your site got some of money big brands were spending to be part of the launch or it got nothing.

And if you’re in the latter group, it doesn’t matter if your site becomes iPad-ready in two weeks or two months–you’re not getting in on that bonanza.

Meanwhile, some publishers are making a point of not converting their sites into iPad-friendly formats. But that’s a different story