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Publishers relieved to see half of iPad subscribers opt in to share data

Publishers using Apple's iPad in app subscription program are finding that half of their customers are opting in to share their data, erasing the main point of contention that magazines and newspapers maintained with Apple.

Concerns that iPad subscribers would refuse to voluntarily share their name and address initially had content publishers upset with Apple's opt-in policies. However, according to a report by Forbes, "fear that Apple’s policies would deny them the consumer data they need to do business was unfounded."

Publishers were concerned that iPad subscribers would overwhelmingly refuse to share their data, just as many readers on the web refuse to provide demographic information even in exchange for free access to content.

The report cited Mark Edmiston of iPad publisher Nomad Editions as having heard talk about the 50 percent opt-in figure from other publishers, so he approached Apple's vice president of internet services Eddy Cue, who confirmed the figure.

"So, all the sudden," Edmiston said, "what was an insurmountable obstacle no longer is."

Jeff Bercovici, writing the entry for Forbes, noted that the high opt-in rate "makes a real statement about how much trust Apple customers place in the company’s ability to create user experiences that are safe and enjoyable."

Over the last few weeks, a variety of major publishers have decisively jumped on the Apple subscriptions bandwagon, including Bloomberg BusinessWeek; Time Inc, the largest magazine publisher in the US, which will be offering People, Sports Illustrated, Time and Fortune; Condé Nast, which announced plans to add subscriptions to all of its iPad magazines including The New Yorker, Wired, Golf Digest, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Self, Allure and GQ; and Hearst, which will initially be offering Esquire, Popular Mechanics and O, The Oprah Magazine, followed by other magazines and newspapers.