Moving to Mobile

Filed as Features on January 28, 2009 5:49 am

The vast majority of the online world is focused around full size screens and mainstream browsers, but increasingly the web is going mobile. How does this change how we work with and create content?

Big noises are being made around the money iPhone application creators are making, but I am not convinced dedicated applications are always the best solution.

Of course I am heavily into the web, and I do not even own an iPhone, so I might be biased. What I am thinking though is of the scenarios where you will use mobile web.

The obvious first port of call will be mobile search. Obviously there are undoubtedly dedicated applications for this, but you do not need anything more than a web browser.

Mobile search is a biggie, especially as Google loads more and more specialized search result types (shopping, images, video, geo). You can definitely see a route where “I need this information right now, and by the way customize it for my location” becomes a driving force behind online content and especially ecommerce.

Consider a traveler being taken to a new city, perhaps their flight was diverted, or a last-minute business trip. Nobody is going to download a car-hire iPhone application, and certainly they will not pay for one, but I would surely be straight into Google looking for deals, options and locations to avoid the airport price-gouging.

So as an iPhone developer you would not make money from this example but there are opportunities here for us as web folks. How would a blogger make money in this scenario? City-specific guides (“how to get best value car rental in new york” for example), formatted for small screens, with affiliate links to car rental cost comparison affiliate schemes. You could likely make around $20 commission, comparible to iPhone application earnings, without the complicated and platform-specific development process.

People are not leaving the web, they are just consuming and interacting with the web in new ways. By considering how we can create or repurpose our content and tools, or cater to the types of use that these devices might be put to, we can develop a whole new market for our content creation skills.

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  1. By TferThomas posted on January 28, 2009 at 6:44 am
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    Agree with you on using the web both on mobile & on say a
    PC, but with really good 3rd party social applications coming
    to smartphone (like SocialScope, twitterberry, etc) I think
    the mobile web will be more of a search (as you said) & a
    social interaction tool. Posted from my BlackBerry Bold


  2. By Spamboy posted on January 28, 2009 at 7:01 am
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    My biggest use for mobile websites are those that aggregate information from a variety of sources, or those that allow me to easily follow discussions. Google Reader formats quite well for iPhones and satisfies the former part of my last sentence — in fact, most of my mobile browsing is for pure time-kill.


  3. By LEARNHOWTOMAKEMONEY posted on January 28, 2009 at 1:13 pm
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    Hi Chris, nice post.

    I agree with you tferthomas comment that said the mobile web will be more of a search (also as you said Chris) social interaction tool.

    have a nice day! :-)


  4. By watzabatza posted on January 29, 2009 at 7:30 am
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    not on me Sir LEARNHOWTOMAKEMONEY agreed w/ Sir TferThomas… much better web browsing on PC…


  5. By Jaden Beck posted on February 2, 2009 at 12:54 pm
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    Making sure we create accessibility for mobile content is going to be the real issue. If we fail to keep our yes on accessibility we will fail to win in the mobile space.


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