Google, Yahoo and Major League Baseball Are Best of the Mobile Web, Says Report
Google.com, Yahoo.com and MLB.com, the site of Major League Baseball, are the three top-performing mobile Web domains, according to a new study from the Yankee Group.
Though there are 2 million mobile Web domains in use today, and 31 percent of phone owners browse the mobile Web at least once a month, the mobile Web experience is far from up to snuff. On a scale of 1 to 100, Yankee Group found the average score to be 52.
"Unlike last year, most of the sites we reviewed adapt their content to many differing feature phones and smartphones. And some companies are also starting to incorporate location-awareness, something other sites should strive to emulate," said Carl Howe, a director at Yankee Group.
This year's report, "Best of the Anywhere Web 2009," was the first time any site had scored above a 70 on Yankee Group's Mobile Web Report Card. In the news department, Google and Yahoo each scored a 73, striking what Yankee Group called "an impressive balance in delivering enough information to mobile users without overwhelming them." Other news sites are said to still be struggling to leverage mobile context and the ability to help users find their sites.
MLB.com scored a 71, for what Yankee said is its ability to detect a consumer's device and tailor content to fit the phone's screen. Among other sports sites, Competitors Rivals.com scored a 58 and ESPN.com scored a 57.
As for the search engines, Google earned an 81-the highest mark Yankee Group has ever given a mobile Website-to edge out Yahoo with its 76. Working to Google's advantage are its minimalist interface, device detection and location awareness. Holding Yahoo back slightly, states the Yankee report, are "small factors like extraneous content and HTML validation errors."
Location awareness is a natural fit for the two search engines, as it's become relevant for not only mapping and navigation purposes but being coupled with searches for mobile advertising opportunities. According to a July 2009 VG Telecoms report, a variety of companies, including operators, application developers and marketers, are racing to take advantage of the opportunities being created by location awareness, including location-based content, applications and services.
On the Mobile Web Report Card, the mobile U.S. carriers scored nowhere near as well. Sprint earned itself a 53, despite appearing a bit "out of date," according to Yankee, while the other carriers wholly ignore mobile Web users who aren't their customers, forcing them to view their sites on a desktop or laptop.
Overall, the most popular uses of the mobile Web, states the Yankee report, are reading the news, performing searches and checking the weather.