Sporting News for iPad is the iPad version of The Sporting News, a well-known and well-respected publication.
The iPad is very flaky and poor in its performance, at least in my experience of using it. It’s also a reminder of why it often sucks to use apps from big-name publishers – because there’s a lack of any real support, or it is very difficult to get any.
In the case of the Sporting News app, I tried getting some support this afternoon. Here’s how it went:
— I used the support link offered on the App Store page for the app. This leads to a contact from that requires that you fill in a Member Name field. If you don’t fill in the member name field (even if every other field is completed) it refuses your submission. Well I don’t have a member name. I’m just a user of the app wanting support. So that’s a dead end.
— Next I found a contact phone number for The Sporting News, called them, and asked about how to get support for the app. They said all support for the app was done by Zinio.
— After finding a number for Zinio I got through to their support line. Their agent was very helpful but informed me that The Sporting News had ceased working with them some time back and their current app is not produced by Zinio and is nothing to do with them.
— I called The Sporting News again and let them know that Zinio had nothing to do with support for the app. I got a different person this time. She said she already knew this and that I should contact Sporting News support. I explained to her that I had already tried and had been stymied by the form requiring a member name. She was far less than helpful, far less than friendly, and really didn’t seem as if she had any desire to help. She directed me several times to ‘just go to contact us on the site’. I explained that’s exactly where I was and asked her to point me to what I was missing – she refused and just said nobody really knows what is happening with support – or at least nobody at that location knows anything. She indicated that another location of theirs might be where support for the app is handled, but she has no contact details.
So for now, there’s no way to get any help or ask a question about the Sporting News app.
Now I am well aware that this is a free app. But it’s a free app from a blue-chip publication. An app that is in the App Store with a supposedly valid link for support. A link that is useless.
Free app or not, I expect much better from a name like the Sporting News. Or I did before today anyway. Now I’ll delete the app, so I’ll have no further need to go on a magical mystery tour looking for any support.
Update: A couple of people from Sporting News have contacted me after this post was published. They’ve apologized for the poor customer service experience I had and assured they are actively addressing the issues I’ve seen in their iPad app. I was impressed with their response.