最近很熱鬧的 New York Times 退訂截圖

最近很熱鬧的 New York Times 的退訂過程截圖在這邊,可以看到滿滿的 Dark pattern 想辦法讓使用者難以退訂:「Before buying a NYT subscription, here's what it will take you to cancel it.」,這點在 Hacker News 上的討論也可以看一下:「Before buying a NYT subscription, here's what it'll take to cancel it (imgur.com)」。

我在看的時候想到美國好像有通過法律,要求租用與退訂流程的對等性,查了一下資料發現理解不正確,之前看到的新聞應該是加州州政府通過的法令:「SB-313 Advertising: automatic renewal and continuous service offers.(2017-2018)」。

2018 年法令生效當時也有報導,裡面講的比較白話:「Companies must let customers cancel subscriptions online, California law says」,結果看到這則報導裡面給的範例時馬上笑出來,因為又是 New York Times,看起來是就是慣犯 XDDD

One person tweeted about trying to cancel a New York Times subscription on the phone and being put on hold for 15 minutes -- twice.

在 Hacker News 的討論裡有提到,美國的使用者可以考慮用 Privacy 這個虛擬信用卡服務,對於這種很搞事的 subscription 直接關閉對應的信用卡帳號就好。

台灣之前有遠東銀行提供 Mastercard InControl 方案,但看起來到去年年底也不提供了:「MasterCard inControl 網路交易虛擬卡號申請服務110年1月1日起終止公告」。

GitHub 推出了 GitHub Sponsors

GitHub 推出了 GitHub Sponsors,贊助或是資助的機制,重點都不在首頁上,而是在 FAQ 頁上...

從「Sponsoring a developer」這頁可以看到有月費機制:

有人提到 Twitch,不過我覺得更像 Patreon,本來用 Patreon 的人應該會很有興趣?不過也有人覺得還是不太一樣:「The Twitch argument for GitHub Sponsors」。

等 General Availability 後看看吧?

Spotify 向歐盟投訴 Apple Music 的不公平競爭

Spotify 向歐盟提出不公平競爭的投訴,並且發出新聞稿:「Consumers and Innovators Win on a Level Playing Field」。

重點在於 Spotify 服務透過蘋果的平台會有 30% 的抽成,但 Apple Music 因為自家服務而不需要:

To illustrate what I mean, let me share a few examples. Apple requires that Spotify and other digital services pay a 30% tax on purchases made through Apple’s payment system, including upgrading from our Free to our Premium service. If we pay this tax, it would force us to artificially inflate the price of our Premium membership well above the price of Apple Music. And to keep our price competitive for our customers, that isn’t something we can do.

不過裡面好像沒提到超過一年後的費用會降到 15% (參考「Auto-renewable Subscriptions」),應該會是蘋果向歐盟回應的重點?

加州大學宣佈不與 Elsevier 續約

加州大學 (這是一個大學系統,包括了十個校區,超過 25 萬的學生與 14 萬的教職員) 認為 Elsevier 沒有達到 open access 應有的標準,決定將不再跟 Elsevier 續約,並且發出新聞稿抨擊 Elsevier:「UC terminates subscriptions with world’s largest scientific publisher in push for open access to publicly funded research」。

As a leader in the global movement toward open access to publicly funded research, the University of California is taking a firm stand by deciding not to renew its subscriptions with Elsevier. Despite months of contract negotiations, Elsevier was unwilling to meet UC’s key goal: securing universal open access to UC research while containing the rapidly escalating costs associated with for-profit journals.



在「Radical open-access plan could spell end to journal subscriptions」這邊看到歐洲 11 個研究機構資助者成立了「cOAlition S」,推動研究論文的開放存取。

目標是在 2020 年開始,由這些機構所資助的研究都必須投在符合完全開放條件的平台上:

cOAlition S signals the commitment to implement, by 1 January 2020, the necessary measures to fulfil its main principle: “By 2020 scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants provided by participating national and European research councils and funding bodies, must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or on compliant Open Access Platforms.

而現在大約只有 15%:

According to a December 2017 analysis, only around 15% of journals publish work immediately as open access (see ‘Publishing models’) — financed by charging per-article fees to authors or their funders, negotiating general open-publishing contracts with funders, or through other means.


Elsevier 讓德國的研究機構在還沒有續約的情況下繼續使用

德國的研究機構在 2017 年年底前,也就是與 Elsevier 的合約到期前,還是沒有續約,但 Elsevier 決定還是先繼續提供服務,暫時性的為期一年,繼續談判:

The Dutch publishing giant Elsevier has granted uninterrupted access to its paywalled journals for researchers at around 200 German universities and research institutes that had refused to renew their individual subscriptions at the end of 2017.

The institutions had formed a consortium to negotiate a nationwide licence with the publisher. They sought a collective deal that would give most scientists in Germany full online access to about 2,500 journals at about half the price that individual libraries have paid in the past. But talks broke down and, by the end of 2017, no deal had been agreed. Elsevier now says that it will allow the country’s scientists to access its paywalled journals without a contract until a national agreement is hammered out.

Elsevier 會這樣做主要是要避免讓德國的學術機構發現「沒有 Elsevier 其實也活的很好」。而不少研究人員已經知道這件事情,在大多數的情況下都有 Elsevier 的替代方案,不需要浪費錢簽那麼貴的費用:

Günter Ziegler, a mathematician at the Free University of Berlin and a member of the consortium's negotiating team, says that German researchers have the upper hand in the negotiations. “Most papers are now freely available somewhere on the Internet, or else you might choose to work with preprint versions,” he says. “Clearly our negotiating position is strong. It is not clear that we want or need a paid extension of the old contracts.”

替代方案有幾個方面,像是自由開放下載的 arXiv 愈來愈受到重視,很多研究者都會把投稿的論文在上面放一份 pre-print 版本 (甚至會更新),而且近年來有些知名的證明只放在上面 (像是 Poincaré conjecture)。而且放在人家家裡比放在自己網站來的簡單 (不需要自己維護),這都使得 arXiv 變成學術界新的標準平台。

除了 arXiv 外,其他領域也有自己習慣的平台。像是密碼學這邊的「Cryptology ePrint Archive」也運作很久了。

除了找平台外,放在自家網站上的論文 (通常是學校或是學術機構的個人空間),也因為搜尋引擎的發達,使得大家更容易找到對應檔案可以下載。

而且更直接的攻擊性網站是 Sci-Hub,讓大家從 paywall 下載後丟上去公開讓人搜尋。雖然因為常常被封鎖的原因而常常在換網址,不過透過 Tor Browser (或是自己設定 Tor Proxy) 存取他們的 Hidden Service 就應該沒這個問題。

希望德國可以撐下去,證明其實已經不需要 Elsevier...

Apple 的 App Store 的訂閱制度更新

先前在「蘋果 App Store 收費模式的改變」這邊提到的改變,這幾天細節公開了:「Subscriptions - App Store - Apple Developer」。

最主要的改變在於超過一年的費用從原來的 30% 降低到 15%:

Within a subscriber’s first year of an auto-renewable subscription, you receive the traditional 70% of the subscription price at each billing cycle, minus applicable taxes. After a subscriber accumulates one year of paid service, your revenue increases to 85% of the subscription price, minus applicable taxes.


蘋果 App Store 收費模式的改變

在「APP STORE 2.0」這邊提到了正式的訪談:

In a rare pre-WWDC sit-down interview with The Verge, Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said that Apple would soon alter its revenue-sharing model for apps.

70/30 的拆分方式有改變,並且擴大開放的範圍:

While the well-known 70 / 30 split will remain, developers who are able to maintain a subscription with a customer longer than a year will see Apple’s cut drop down to 15 percent. The option to sell subscriptions will also be available to all developers instead of just a few kinds of apps. "Now we’re going to open up to all categories," Schiller says, "and that includes games, which is a huge category."


另外在 John Gruber 跟 Phil Schiller 的電話訪談「The New App Store: Subscription Pricing, Faster Approvals, and Search Ads」提到了更多項目。