Zinio Newsstand Back Up After Some Services Down For Four Days
Issue underscores need for subscription liability plans online.
Zinio’s digital newsstand is back up and running after experiencing problems last Thursday through this past weekend.
On Sunday, March 6, the company posted,
Our store is back online. Shop and Read on Zinio, and see what is next.
We continue to work to bring all of our services back online. Readers can again browse, shop and read on Zinio.com, and within our application suite.
Should you encounter further difficulties, please contact our support team at email@example.com. We will post an update when our systems are confirmed 100 percent online.
Upon completing some system checks, we will begin delivering those magazines delayed since March 2nd. We expect to fulfill all outstanding issues over the next few days.
Thanks for your continued patience and understanding!
While publishers are scrambling to get in the App Store, Zinio has (relatively quietly) been a go-to digital newsstand for many consumer publishers. Popular Science sells 10,000 to 12,000 "copies’ in the App Store each month, but its total amount of digital sales averages around 33,000 to 34,000 per month, thanks in large part to Zinio. "The numbers have gone from the dozens to the thousands," Paul Michelman, director of product development at Harvard Business Review, told Fortune Tech about being on Zinio earlier this year.
Still, Zinio’s problem raises the sticky question how to handle subscription liability online (Zinio reps did not return phone calls by press time). While Zinio says it will process any issues affected as quickly as it can, the liability question is trickier with emerging newsstands from Apple, Google and others.
"Apple charges it upfront to the consumer’s credit card and there are no cancellations, no refunds," Bonnier consumer marketing director Bob Cohn told FOLIO: last month. "Our accounting department is telling us we have to treat that as deferred subscription revenue, until it gets significant enough. Our goal is to use the existing deferred income subscription liability module that our fulfillment house has rather than reinvent the wheel, and keep records of subscriptions. We don’t worry about it in the short-term because there will be no refunds. In the print world, if somebody subscribes twice, we extend the subscription. In the iTunes store, it says ‘you already subscribed.’ We don’t know any of those answers for Google yet."