A Bite From The Big Apple | Opinion

Let's start by imagining you have a couple of identical jackets, then one gets stolen. Next, you see it for sale in a beautiful 5th Avenue store and discover you're only going to get a percentage of the proceeds if it sells. What would you do? This is kinda what it's like for publishers on Apple News.

Newsweek is one of a cohort of "premium publishers" available on Apple News (the non-subscription iPhone app for you Android users). We don't get anything for the privilege unless ads are sold against our content. Not a problem, right? You'd think it would be easy to sell ads on such a great platform, but it turns out it's darn near impossible.

The reason Apple News is so frustrating is that, on the one hand, the advertising results on the platform are fantastic. Talk about "clean and well lit." There is 100 percent viewability with click-through rates that are measured in whole percentage points. There's great engagement and a young affluent demographic. It sounds like the perfect scenario, except it's not at all.

There's a major downside to publishers having their content on Apple News. The company is pulling a Facebook on us and won't let any tech of any kind reside on the platform. That means no floodlight tags and no third-party data targeting. That means there is no measurement or targeting of any kind except what's natively available on Apple. The result of this is that most advertisers don't want to be bothered. They have rules about how their digital ads will run and they don't allow them to run on Apple News.

But, hey, my incredibly beautiful jacket has already been stolen; it's available in this wonderful store at prices that are bargain basement, and it's really warm and comfortable. You won't regret the purchase. Besides, you should check it out because I ain't ever getting it back, so help me get something for it!

The apple logo is projected on a screen before the start of a product launch event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, on September 10, 2019. Josh Edelson / AFP/ Getty Images