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Mobiles - Why so Little Interest?



8:58 pm on Dec 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Development of mobile phone websites have been interesting me for the last year or so. I've made a few posts here over that time. Now I have a couple of mobiles (small screen Samsung and a top of the range large screen Nokia) and I also have a .mobi domain with some very basic content.

The .mobi and the purchase of the large screen Nokia were inevitable but hastened by a discussion with my son (20 years) and my partners son (23 years). Both have recently bought upmarket mobiles (I-Phone and a Blackberry Curve). Both have said that they now use their mobiles more than their desktops. And both have said that they "didn't know how managed before their mobile internet access".

So, I'm sold on the idea and will continue posting here on progress. I just don't understand why there is so little interest in mobile web site development. Any idea why?


5:20 pm on Dec 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I thought I was going to read a thread about...

Mobiles - Why so Little Interest?

Instead I read a silly pi$$ing match.

How fun.

Great way to drag WW down to the gutter level of some other webmaster forums.


5:22 pm on Dec 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Audi is the only car company incorporating Google earth and we won't see it in US until 2012 or 2013. Europe will get it in the 2011 Audi and they are only putting it in a car that costs $80k+.

I can't wait until they finally put all the cool stuff that smart phones can do into a car. Car makers are very slow. I own a 2009 Lexus and I have to use my Droid most the time because the in car Nav sucks so bad.


7:09 pm on Dec 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Instead I read a silly pi$$ing match.

so 2 people can't voice their point of view for too long without it being called a pissing match? Its been civil.


7:16 pm on Dec 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Get a new smart phone and then we can discuss this further ;)

I've used smart phones for years, after i lost my last one a few months ago and verizon wanted to charge me $$$$$$$$$ for a replacement i just went with a normal phone. I used it but not as much as the other people i see glued to their phones.

my friend has a new android and hes got 50000 apps installed on it and everytime he comes over hes showing me the new apps and stuff it does and I pointed out, yea you use your phone alot but look at what you are using it for...you are just playing around with it like a geeky toy all day. And it seems smartphone people are kinda like that, they get together and show each other all the new tricks their phones do hahah.

I picked up a netbook with a data plan for the price it would have been to replace my smartphone and life is fine with my normal talk and txt phone.

Like i said they are really handy to have in your pocket but i don't see them as GOT TO HAVE devices.


8:21 pm on Dec 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

OK, how about this for adsense ads.
Should you used an Adsense for Mobile or an Adsense for Content.
As I understand the differences. Only 1 Adsense for Mobile on a page.
But? With the advent of the Smart Phone like Driod.
If I use the Droid Browser, I can see both Adsense Types.
If I use a PC to view the page formatted for mobile, the Mobile Ad does not show.
Is this a conundrum? Or should we be allowed to post 1 of each ad type.
If on a PC only 1 ad shows to visitor. If on a Droid for instance, both ad types will be displayed.

A simple solution would be for Adsense to determine the screen size and instead of not showing a Mobile make the switch to regular.

Don't want to violate TOS but on the other hand, TOS have not caught up to the new browsers.


8:28 pm on Dec 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I don't play with many apps on my phone. I use:

Barcode scanner when shopping
a few games
surf the web
speech to text to type
google analytics

Soon I will be using my own seo apps that I'm making. I make a living on the computer and when something allows me to do my job from anywhere I love it.


10:00 pm on Dec 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>>you are just playing around with it like a geeky toy all day. And it seems smartphone people are kinda like that, they get together and show each other all the new tricks their phones do hahah.

Yea, they're just toys. I just set up a new wireless access point in a dusty attic w/o having to spend 10-minutes crawling out & down the ladder or lugging a netbook up there. Didn't plan on it but remembered it was in my pocket. My kind of toy.

Visit Thailand

1:36 am on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The last post I made in this thread was written on a HTC HD2 and was cut short as typing on them is one of my least favourite things.

I only just switched from Sony Ericcson after years as a loyal customer after I found out their new Satio does not have 3.5 headphone jack and I am tired of playing around with their headsets and chargers.

Is still taking some getting used to the change but I am glad I made it.

I also have a netbook that I love, and have quite heavily customised, but now that tends to stay at home much more as I mainly used it for surfing when out anyway.

What I have discovered is that sites that just seem to look ok on a mobile device can look very different in Opera and IE when using the HD2, and that just looking ok is not satisfactory. Take WW, it looks ok, but needs a fair bit of zooming etc, which is boring.

The BBC and Times of London have got this sorted even though their navigation still needs to be improved.

I do think that mobile is very much the future and that sites need to be constructed separately for them whether as a .mobi or just as m.thisdomain.com with an automatic redirect for mobile devices.

So in reply to the OP I think the reason is there seems to be little conformity between mobile devices and I am guessing that people with websites (especially big sites) are perhaps reluctant to make such a massive investment in time when the technology could quite possibly change as the market grows.

But there seems to be quite a few people already using their benefits, and just like the internet that phenomenon is just going to grow and grow...


3:49 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I have a feeling that the issues I'm raising are a little too advanced for this board as many of the comments seem to be from new converts to mobile and hold outs instead of pros building mobile already...

The fact that people are still debating whether to have mobile sites or not...

I used to think WW had the best and most advanced Webmasters and discussions on new topics. Seems to me, WW is losing ground to other hipper sites that just get issues. I like to come here for the perspective, but it seems that the quality has gone down.


9:16 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Google understands that the vast majority of websites out there are not concerened with anything but IE users and that is it. They don't cross brower check they don't design for SEe they don't design for mobile or design for low bandwidth. Google has an advantage over Apple. They have scanned the entire Internet. They have user data from adsense and adwords. Google does not do anything without looking at lots of data and they test things to death.


9:53 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Harry, come on and explain some of the advanced subjects about mobile sites that are not being discussed here. Open up and let's discuss. "Hippier" discussion sites might not result in "informed" discussions, who knows?

Give us a chance, post something controversial, if you really have some unique opinions.


11:34 pm on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

@nomis5, I do believe that in this thread alone, I've posted enough contrarian opinions for five threads alone but people are still debating whether to have mobile Web sites and those who agree based their arguments based on one platform. Understanding mobile as something that is only meant to be monetized is a mistake. Understanding mobile as an app is a mistake. Understanding mobile only through the prism of one platform is also a mistake.


3:18 am on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Lets attack the question in this manner then.
Given - Small Screen Browsing AKA Smartphone is different than sitting at your PC.
What then are ways that we can:
A.)Promote our own sites through apps or joining forces with apps.
B.) Monetize existing sites through Small Screen enhancements.
C.) ?

I mean Apple - Google - Microsoft and others are sinking a lot of capital into these things.
To me it seems like 1993-4 all over again. Going from gopher to Netscape.
Does anyone remember the feeling when you saw the first Graphical browser? I may be showing my age but that was the rush I got using the Droid for the first time.
Sure I phone is the Granddaddy but I never had the opportunity to use the Iphone. Better late than never.


3:20 am on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Almost forgot. If you are in the internet business and you need to make sure your site functions correctly on Small screen, then wouldn't the cost of your Droid or Smart Phone be a deductible business expense?
Instant monetization.


5:53 am on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


A) Apps are temporary animals. Don't rely on them. You sure can make an app version of your site and monetize using various scheme - there is already an Adsense for mobile and Google bought Admob which specializes in this. The problem with apps is that unless they are real apps and not Web sites repackaged, users will not feel you give them the best. If you will repackage your site as an app, give something unique to your mobile users that is not found on the regular site. Differentiate while using the same branding. See your app as a beachhead to draw in people to the regular site - that also means curtailing what is available in the app.

B) Create a mobile version of your site. This is important. This mobile version is to be compatible with ALL MOBILE devices - which is the direct opposite of making an app of your Web site for Android and iPhone users. There are many standards already, but the W3 supports one in particular. Promote that one and get on board so users can have a mobile site available when they visit.

c)Get out of the platform-centric/OS mindset. When we make Web sites, we don't make them for Mac, Firefox, Safari or Opera users. We make them for all users and that includes IE6, crappy Netscapes 2, 800x600, and so on. So you've discovered a cool smartphone that browses the Internet well. Get over it and see the forest and not the tree. Don't rely on that one platform. Develop for all if you can and think about all of your users. That's partly one reason why making Web sites as apps is stupid because you cut your potential market instead of drawing them to your mobile site which is by default cross platform compatible. Unless you offer an app that is not Web based, like a game or a medical software to monitor your patient's heart rate, get out of the one app for one platform business. That's not the way to tackle mobile. We don't know where this is going. Don't pick a winner just yet. This is not the desktop OS war of the 80s. This is not VHS vs betamax. This is brand new and the rules are not set yet. Don't think Google will win or Apple, will. It doesn't matter. In five years, what you see on your iPhone and Droid will be the minimum standards in all smartphones. So get over that and think big.

There could be something announced next month by a new guy none of us has ever heard about that is three time the game changer that the iPhone was. Don't pick camps. You are developers. You develop sites for the masses, not for your own personal pleasure. Where are all these strong WW ethics that we promoted for years? Why are we tossing them away because we bought new toys last month? Why is WW still not offering a clean mobile version of its site. Why is it still trying to control my CSS for me? Why do I have to point that out at WW? Why wasn't WW at the forefront of this debate? Why are people still arguing over Droid vs iPhone. This is not Techcrunch. This is WW. We are supposed to be the elite.

Am I angry. Maybe I am. But I want smart debate around mobile. I believe I've shared the best info I have in the tradition WW. Now debate me well so we can all move forward but please stop it with your iPhone/Droid/PalmPre/NokiaN900/BlackBerry/HTC obsessions. That's not what WW is about. Mobile is not about Google vs Apple. Mobile does not belong to one company, just like the Web does not belong to one company, no matter what appearances make it appear.


7:35 am on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>>I have a feeling that the issues I'm raising are a little too advanced for this board as many of the comments seem to be from new converts to mobile and hold outs instead of pros building mobile already...

OK I'll piss in the pot. Ya the "pros" are always divulging their stuff here; that's why I lurk too. Welcome to Webmaster World.


9:33 am on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Point taken Harry. Just to consider one point you make though, the design of a mobile site for all mobile browsers and models of mobile.

I'm designing my .mobi site for smartphones with reasonable size screens. I'm not interested in the 1 inch square screens. Given that, when I look at my site in different browsers and different phones there are slight rendering differences but nothing dramatic. The site is always readable and understandable. I don't have any different stylesheets or whatever for different screen sizes and browsers.

I'm not going to expend any energy on very minor presentation differences. My effort is 100% going into getting content up there. That was how I worked on the non-mobile sites. They always had slight minor presentation differences when viewed in different browsers, but what the heck if a border was a couple of pixels to the right in Chrome compared to IE. I don't care and I really don't think my readers do. Same goes for mobiles. As long as it's readable and not badly out, does the viewer really care? They want widget information, lots of it and quick to download on their mobile, not stuffed full of large pictures and complicated Flash stuff. Does that offend the techies and perfectionists out there? If so, why?

The only other design consideration which is in the forefront of my mind is that I must be able to monetise the site in the future. I'm doing it for fun, yes, but in the end it must monetise. And monetisation to me means Adsense ads at the moment. In the future there may be other alternatives but at the moment it's the only game in town. With that in mind, I check that every page validates 100% correctly. Nothing else at the moment. The ads can be placed on the pages when the site starts to attract a reasonable amount of viewers. Does that sound a reasonable approach or am I missing the point?

I believe that considering all the complex and intricate details of mobile specific website design up front is a key reason for the lack of interest in developing mobile websites. It certainly put me off initially. I've now given up trying to get it 100% correct first time. I've read up the subject, stopped reading any more for the moment and now am getting the content up. My interest has returned and I'll sort out minor presentation problems later on.

If buying an Android or whatever provides that spark of interest in mobile sites then that's fine. It all comes down to the fact that it's better to do something at the beginning of the game rather than do nothing because it all appears so complicated.


5:18 pm on Dec 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Harry, I see where you are coming from. But I guess webmasters are just tired of running, each and every new technology seems to be coming and going. Netscape, IE, Flash, Ajax, Opera, Firefox, CSS, DHTM, blah, blah - all "The next big thing". So...people either built and their hopes never materialized (no monetization), or have large sites and don't have time to play around, 'cause their revenues are currently DROPPING like a rock. People who had valid business models are not in "what else can we build now", but in "I need to cut staff and expenses, and find a way to stay afloat, or I'll be next in line for a government job". Bad timing.


However...I don't doubt that some kids in a dorm somewhere are playing with their smartphones, and seeing that there's nothing good out there dream opportunities. Oh, and they have all the time in the world, and no baggage to drag them :)

So someone we've never heard of is coming with a new killer mobile site or app.

But please be angry, this is a good thing here. Lately I am rarely here 'cause nothing's new, and emotions are not allowed, only "civilized talk"


8:23 pm on Jan 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Back to the original question:
Well someone is sure showing a lot of interest.
Google buys AdMob.
Apple buys Quattro.
Google unveils Nexus One.


8:25 am on Jan 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I don't think it's a lack of interest as much as it is frustration with a growing list of annoyances that have yet to be resolved to improve the browsing experience. And for developers, it comes down to sheer exhaustion. In a proprietary, self-involved and splintered mobile industry where there still are no [standards compliance uniformity] rules, two years of neglect and lack of cooperation by software and hardware makers were enough for this web developer. For the sake of my sanity, I decided to end my trailblazing adventure until the industry reached adulthood.

I started developing web sites for mobile back in 2004, as noted by my posting history in this forum. Back then, Palm was king of everything, followed by devices running WinMobile. Who knew iPhone would change everything! Well, sort of...

When Macromedia, now Adobe decided not to not to support the Palm O/S, Opera decided not to support the WinMobile O/S, and HP decided to get out of the pda/smartphone biz, my last hopes for a single browser/player solution were dashed. I too went the CSS/xhtml route and even went so far as to create a 'write once-use everywhere' solution that produced one code set for the desktop browser and a handful of mobile devices. But when I tested in browsers that had a proprietary formatting solution like Opera and Netfront, neither of which supported the media="handheld" declaration or much CSS2, my wonderful CSS standards-compliant web site was mangled beyond recognition.

Even my Flash experiments didn't behave as they were suppose to. I had to install helper plug-in apps like FlashAssist to tame formatting issues on just WinMobile.

After 2 years, I gave up and returned to desktop web design and dev and now that Flash is going to be supported on the iPhone, and I have begun experimentation in iPhone web apps and iPhone app UI design, I have resumed my interest in mobile. I am proceeding with caution, however. I'm still a bit shell-shocked from my earlier attempt. I've already paid my dues, as it were.



3:13 pm on Jan 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Gartner projects mobile web usage to outpace PC web usage by 2013:


I use to think that you could simply design your site to work well enough on both PC/desktops and on mobile phones since the mobile browsers are getting so sophisticated.

However I have changed my tune after realizing how much I enjoy using mobile designed sites versus non-mobile when I'm on my phone. Saves me so much time scrolling and zooming in and out and squinting, etc.

I've started developing a mobile version of my biggest site. According to my stats only about 5% of my visitors are coming from mobile devices, but that number seems to be an increasing stat.

I don't think Gartner is that far off with their prediction.

One bit of advice, from my perspective I hate it when a site ONLY offers a mobile version to mobile devices. Give your users the choice of switching to the regular if they prefer it.


4:49 pm on Jan 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

We have had maybe a dozen mobile sites for several years that run on .mobi and example.com/mobile, standards compliant and they look good on all types of devices.

When I'm at busy international conferences and exhibitions I regularly ask visitors whether they use our mobile sites and what they think of them. Surprisingly, considering how few visitors these sites actually get, many do know about them and some have visited them but the vast majority tell me the same thing, "I come to your sites to see specific, detailed images, using a netbook is just ok but anything smaller is no good for what I am doing."

Bear in mind that these visitors not only come for the images but also qualified technical specifications etc required for their projects and do a lot of copying and pasting of this information for their clients.

We are having a hard time justifying any further time, not expenditure, in developing our mobile sites any further since we're having a "dumb moment", we just do not know what to do...why bother developing if users are not going to use them?

Our sites are not ecommerce/transactional therefore we are not "under pressure" to have them monetise profitably...we just get the "feeling" at the moment that the mobile market is just not for businesses like ourselves and I suspect that many other businesses may be thinking likewise.

And if anyone suggests develop an app...you really do not comprehend in what I and many others are involved and that 2/3/4/5 year projects do not come under the heading of "impulse buy":-)

<off topic>

It's the new Wild West!

As an aside...the landlord of my local where I go to see live bands every Friday and Saturday night is thinking of confiscating smartphones etc on entrance since a few users seem to spend their entire evening annoying non-users with their "new app".

Arghhh...I spend 7 days a week working on our business sites, I don't need to see...ahem, apps and games in which I have absolutely no interest...please, please, someone develop one, heck knows what, that could possibly be useful to me so I can get my own back!


3:36 pm on Mar 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Why not make the APP the Web Site and the Web Site the APP? Put as much attention to detail to the Site as the APP and you could have a bigger home run than 1million.....


6:27 am on Mar 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I agree with "smallcompany" ,"Who buys stuff "through" the phone? I can't imagine myself doing it. Too small for research and decision making. "

I mean a phone in today's times no doubt has increased it's manifold, but I like working on my desktop or laptop more than the phone.


7:57 am on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

"" I agree with "smallcompany" ,"Who buys stuff "through" the phone? I can't imagine myself doing it. Too small for research and decision making. ""

People will, those who think not risk being left behind, meaning more pie for the rest of us :o)
This 85 message thread spans 3 pages: 85

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