February 1st, 2006

Mobile News & Advertising – USA Today

I was checking out USA Today’s new mobile WAP site today on my LG 9000 on Verizon’s network. (WAP is somewhat reasonable with QWERTY + EVDO). I liked that there were headlines on the first page with links through to stories. Lead story was on the postal worker in California. I liked that there were photos. I liked that it was formatted for my screen. Lead story was nine pages long – each had to be loaded individually. Story on Chelios being selected as captain of USA’s Olympic Ice Hockey team was only three pages. Raises the issue of whether or not content should not just be “formatted” for the small screen, but whether or not it should be written for the small screen.

There was an itsy-bitsy (sp?) banner ad from Microsoft Office at the top of the screen. I clicked through out of curiousity. There was a text ad – pretty short. They asked me to fill in my email address in this small blank box. Good thing I had a QWERTY keyboard. I like that they are connecting the cell phone to the web. Will let you know what comes of it.

Regarding the site, we all know that not many people are using WAP today, but the number is growing. My mother is a huge fan of USA Today and reads it every day. I didn’t see a link to the daily Sudoku puzzle though. Anyway, my mother doesn’t know that her phone can link to the Internet. That said, I think it’s great that USA Today is out there with a mobile portal and they are getting it included in carrier portals. Page views are low in number today, but they will grow over time. Great time to be learning. It won’t be that long before a much larger number of mobile subscribers will have handsets with network access that makes this a reasonable experience.

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