While searching for The Times of India* application on Nokia’s Ovi app store, we found an application by “Rushil RoXstar” by the same name, merely fetching TOI’s RSS feeds, and another by Amol Kumar, which aggregates the Times of India and the Economic Times. In fact it took us around 30 minutes for us to create a MediaNama using the Nokia App Wizard (awaiting approval for publishing) – it’s that easy.
Similar apps also exist on the Android platform, and AG Indian Newspaper, a popular Android app, which offers feeds from Indian newspapers is even being preloaded by LG.
The issue often is that developers beat the publishers, and launch their app before the publisher can; ToI first launched apps for the iPad, and only last week, announced the launch of its Symbian application. Of course, it takes more than 30 minutes to produce the touch screen application, and something with more finesse. Read a complete review at AppNama (the site is still a work in progress, but we are updating it with content).
This highlights the problem that RSS (Really Simple Syndication) poses for publishers, when it comes to applications – their RSS feeds can be pulled into applications without their consent. On the iPad, applications like Flipboard, Pulse and Zite are changing the way content is consumed with personalization, and as a publisher, you’re left wondering about whether it is a good idea to have RSS feeds or not.
So the question we leave for you to answer: What should TOI do? Get the third party apps removed from app stores or let them continue?
*Disclosure: Indiatimes is an advertiser with MediaNama