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Monday Morning Mobile: Are You “Optimized” for Mobile

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By Seth Kaplan

Being that the mobile technology landscape is progressing at a pace that rivals the New York minute, I make it a point to try and get as much ”mobile news” as possible on a daily basis to stay on top of things. Recently, I updated my profile with the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) and for doing so, received an e-mail with their top ten stories. Popping it open, my eye immediately caught story No. 2, Century 21 sees mobile as a way forward in real estate; naturally I was inclined to read further.

As many of us already know, Century 21’s app, which was released earlier this year, caught a lot of attention because it included a national IDX property search. The article in the MMA, written by Joe Mandese, quoted Michael Callaghan, VP of digital and strategic marketing at Century 21, as saying, “Why did we do this? Clearly because there is this new home buyer.” I think it’s safe to say that there is certainly a new home buyer and that buyers new and old are turning to their mobile devices to find information.

What I found most surprising about the article was that it went on to detail Century 21’s commitment to mobile, stating “Callaghan said Century 21 began its mobile retrofit by focusing on creating optimized mobile versions of its web site.” I was not surprised by the strategy; I firmly believe all companies should have a mobile-enabled version of their site. What surprised me was how, with all the mobile news I receive daily, I could have missed the release of such a major mobile site.

I quickly grabbed my mobile device and went directly to www.Century21.com—surprised again! After being asked if I wanted to download the app (I declined and went to the site), I got the same version of the site that I got when I visited that URL from my desktop. How is that optimized for use on my mobile device? I tried it again; the only page that was optimized for my mobile device was the page where I could download the app. Let’s make one thing clear—a splash page driving traffic to the app store can certainly qualify as a mobile strategy but does not constitute a mobile version of the website.

If your website does not format to fit on every mobile device with Internet access and does not create a unique experience for the mobile user that differs from the traditional online experience, your website is not “optimized” for mobile use.

Century 21 New Millennium, Washington DC, on the other hand, does have a website that is optimized for all mobile devices. If you visit their website, www.c21nm.com, you will have a different experience on your mobile device than you do when you visit the same website from your desktop computer. Their site caters to the mobile user differently than the desktop user because they are inherently looking for different information.

Perhaps Michael Callaghan was misquoted or the quotes were taken out of context. Either way, it provided a good context for differentiating between what is and what is not “optimized” for mobile.

For more information on how to optimize your site for use on mobile devices go to: www.mobilerealestateid.com.

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