You can download your friendly local website’s mobile application for zero dollars – now with variable text size and search functionality.
Update December 2019: The Spinoff app now comes with search functionality and the option to increase text size. Find the text-size option at the top of each post, and the search bar by scrolling to the bottom of the main menu. If your version of the app isn’t showing these options, be sure to update via the App Store or Google Play.
Early last year, The Spinoff announced the launch of an app in the time-honoured manner: a hype post by Duncan Greive. “This is a really big deal for us – by far the most expensive thing we’ve ever spent money on,” wrote our managing editor and spiritual leader. “It’s a gesture of confidence in our future, our belief that we’re in this for the long haul.” And a snip at just $5.99.
Eighteen months and a couple of days later, the bad news is that the app will no longer be available for purchase. The good news is that it isn’t in fact bad news, it’s good news: the app will now be available for free.
If you haven’t got the app already, please grab it now from your merchant of choice: Apple here and Android here. Quite apart from the thrill of having our little S icon on your screen between mobile banking and Angry Birds, we’d love you to download it because it helps cut out the middleman. As with just about every media outlet, our content tends these days to be presented to audience by gatekeepers called Mark or Jack. Facebook and Twitter and the rest remain the principal funnels of readership for sites like ours – and they’re very much beyond our control.
This is not just an abstraction – Zuckerberg’s platform in particular has been an increasingly unreliable partner, with all publishers feeling the chill since it publicly announced a swing away from news. Whether you’ve noticed or not, even if you love The Spinoff and follow it on Facebook, you will have very deliberately been shown less of our work lately. To combat that we either publish more work at a lower quality, gravitate towards melodramatic presentation – or get more of our audience to go direct to the source.
To download our app is to shake your gorgeous fist at the algorithmic behemoth eating the world.
If you have paid for the app already and feel even slightly miffed at the idea that people in the future will not pay for it, please note the warning of Duncan Greive in that hype post last year. “If you have a problem paying for something that will one day be free,” in a sentence that soon started to sound like the US president issuing foreign policy directives, “then DO NOT BUY THE APP.”
Do not buy the app today. Grab it for nothing. It’s the smartest and easiest way to channel our words and pictures and video into your eyes and your brain. We’re really proud of it.
If you like the app, please give it a review on the app store. If you don’t like it, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or write a letter to your local MP.
Join The Spinoff Members for as little as $1 to help us hire more journalists and do more investigations. Or get a free Toby Morris-designed tea towel when you contribute $80 or more over a year.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.