Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gap in Gay Apps, Apple & Censorship

Gap in Gay Apps Apple & Censorship

An iPhone or iPod Touch is one of the coolest most fashionable personal devices on the world. Millions of gays own them. But even in 2010 like much of the mass media, with the exception of the internet, there is a lack of gay content.

At the very least Apple did put the whole Internet in the palm of our hands. Almost. When the iphone launched Apple ads promised the internet the "real internet". A reference to the fact that at the time mobile devices accessed mobile versions of internet sites or watered down text based content. Via safari you can You can not however view any Internet content that requires flash. I did some research on Apples battle with adobe and it's more than I care to speak on in this article. Suffice to say, Apples promise falls just a little short.

Potential Unrealized:
I finally got my iPhone, arriving fashionably late to the iparty with the introduction of the iPhone 3g.
My 1st impression was, great potential.  A few key features were missing; cut and paste, video, and mms were later resolved. I kept waiting and waiting for my fave websites, magazines and comics to issue iPhone apps and digital issues. How awesome would it be to have an app that could access mail profiles and allow you to chat with your buddies.

These apps already existed for social networking giants like face book and Twitter I struggle to mention myspace. Aol and yahoo both have apps for chat. I can't even tell you the last time I used either.

Some sites now offer an iPhone version of their sites and some comics have issued digital issues, almost 2 years later I'm still waiting.

With the iPad coming out April 03 and claims of revolutionizing personal devices, a boom for developers publishing giants and self publishing, I find my self browsing the AppStore and Internet looking wondering where is the Queer Revolution?
Out... to lunch?
A search for Gay on the AppStore reveals a meager list of a handful of apps mostly "pictorial" subscriptions.

Where are the Queer apps?

The only area where these seem to thrive, I use the term loosely is social networking (SN) With SN being the buzz word of the neo digital era I anticipated an explosion of gay SN apps. Not so. This far the few that exist are barely worth mention save they are the only few that exist. There are two however few that stand out from the pack desrving marked praise.
*Since I began this article several new SN apps have appeared but still are lack luster leaving me disinterested. For more on those apps I'll be posting reviews in the Lewd Tech. section of this blog.

recon- fetish social networking site
I was happy to see this app as Im already a member of the Internet website. Secondly, I saw this as a sign of the times and Apple's comitment to diversity. Strangely enough there was no advertising about their app on their website which currently offers an iPod Touch for some promotion. May have something to do with their business model since recon relies on subscription for full access to their site. I suspect they will expand their app to include more features beyond the very limited capabilities of the current app which allows you to chat with people on your favorites list and view a simplified profile. If you guys are reading I have fantastic ideas for your site and app.
*Since I began writing this article, recon has updated their app to include "who's nearby" as well as a member redirect to a sign up page once you have reached your limit. Interestingly enough the description reads guy finder and all reference to fetish removed.

Grindr- a social network app that a buddy of mine mentioned this app to me and "what's that?", was my response. Once I did a search, I realized I'd seen it before but, it never jumpped out at me. My experience with Grindr was more bitter than sweet. I started off excited at the prospect of viewing profiles of pervs in and around my area down to a few feet! My elation lasted less than a day. I logged on to find my profile had been deleted for " breech of terms". This has happened several times and even as I key this article I'm awaiting a resons as to why my profile was actually deleted.
Reply received

Thanks for your reply. Your web link was being censored because it was advertising your photography...Hope this helps and let me know if I can help you further.
Grindr Support"

So I cut and pasted this into my profile text and entitled it so much for social "networking".
Several profile deletions, revisions, and another email to Grindr support I got this reply...

"Thanks for contacting us and I apologize if you feel your profile has been wrongly censored. Apple has issued new, more strict photo/text guidelines for social networking apps and we must censor anything that is considered overly sexual or in any way sexually suggestive. We must abide by these new rules in order to continue providing the Grindr app."
The irony of this...
To download this app you must be 17 blah blah blah so why rate  the app if your going to censor the fuck out of it so that my 6y/o nephew can used it. I thought this was an Adult app. Additionally the name   Grindr is very suggestive. Grind Her or Grin Dr.... come on....

Other than that it's a pretty good app with most of the basic featutres profiles chat buddy and beacon you can even send additional pics. One key missing feature is cut and paste. It makes for a clumsy transition if you meet someone and they send your number you can't dial direct or even copy paste to say your contacts. Grindr will soon be celebrating it's 1 yr anniversary. (See article Grindr Party @ Splash Bar NY)
*Since I began writing this article, Grindr has issued an update to include landscape typing.

Best for last:
Gage Diel- a social network for Gay Men. This app is so good I wrote a review on the app store and wrote to the developer. A first on both accounts. (see full review in article Perfecttly Gaged) Many other reviews made statements like this one, "this is what Grindr was supposed to be".
This only shows that we are here and we do want gay apps.

All content is not created equal:

Personally, I like to monitor the the App Store's content. As Queer man & artist with an interest in putting out a few apps of my own. I did some research and apps are EXPENSIVE to make. We're talking upwards of $1000 for the most basic app to $100,000 for a multifunction app. There are subscription sites popping up that offer basic apps and hosting for more reasonable fees but strangly provide little information no examples or previously created apps. All seems a bit dodgy to me. I'll sit this on out and wait and see.

With R rated Films like Saw et al and programs sold on iTunes from networks like HBO SHOWTIME inclusive Logo and off colour programs like South Park and Rick Steve ( all excellent programming ) one would think now is the time things are moving in the right direction.

I'm so tired of the excuse, the children.
I wouldn't want to be a parent but if you have these kinds of concerns can't monitor your children and their devices (which have parental settings and req a credit card to have an acct) then you shouldn't have kids and or they shouldn't have these devices. Or just use the fucking parental settings. Whatever the case it ain't my problem. Besides you can find far more sexually suggestive content on face book myspace et al. Censorship Isn't just a queer issue Apple's recent rash of censorship is not gender specific. Well not exactly.

The Blogosphere is ablaze with stories of Apple's interest in censorship.
Apple's claim that social networking profiles are getting out of hand and they're focusing on going after "bikini"mag type apps. (Has something to do with things that appear in yhe app store and how apps get listed according to # of downloads.) Yet if you type the word "magazine" in the search field and Playboy is a top app on the app stores list. No 5.

Clearly plolitics and money are the key factors in this equation like frenzied over reaction to Janet Jacksons wardrobe fiasco to Pot head Michael Phelps comes down to dollars and cents
Sponsors don't want to be associated with anything that middle America dens dirty. Face it we still have queer senators fighting against queer rights in America the great. Daunting but when has the status quo been surprising. Can you imagine backlash if an Apple product associated say a situation like the craigs list killer. I can the rss feeds and head lines now "TheQueer App killer" "Bad Apple" "forbidden fruit" Apple slasher strikes again. Just look at what it did for craigslist. Since then craigs list has added so much burracracy and censorship terms and conditions that it's not even worth using anymore.

Has Apple gone the way of MTV?
Remember that revolutionary little network that used to play 24 hr music videos but, sold out and now serves up more manufactured "reality" bullshit than all the other networks combined.

What's Erie about the whole censorship thing is this. Do you remember the 1984 Apple commercial introducing the mac? It was a take on the film 1984.

If your not familiar but, this seems familiar it's because. President Obama's campain ran a similar ad against Hiliary Clinton... Piggybacking on that ideal.

...but I digress.

When I think of Apple, I think America apple pie, natural, the little guy, recycling, energy saving, art friendly, media, great products and service. Progressive movements America has taken a few steps forward and a few hundred backward. I hope Apple's new policies are not a reflection of their falling in line.

- Posted from my iPhone

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