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Durban-based mobile media company, Thumbtribe, has officially launched a directory of what it considers to be the top local mobile sites, called “Best of the Mobile Web”.
Thumbtribe says their new mobile directory allows South African users to find relevant, mobile-friendly content “quickly and easily”.
The directory can be found via your mobile phone at thumbtribe.mobi — and via other mobile channels such as Samsung mobile, Nokia.mobi, Opera Mini and through links from various sites housed within the directory.
Some of the sites listed in the directory include M-Net, TimesLive, Junkmail, Private Property, CAR, Getaway, Soccer Laduma, PlanetRugby, YOU, Cosmopolitan, heat, Men’s Health, Shape, FHM and Sports Illustrated.
Elan Lohmann, Avusa’s internet GM who is represented on the directory via TimesLive, reckons that navigation of the mobile web “resembles the early days of the Internet where directories dominated and guided users on their journey”.
“Services like the Best of the Mobile Web play an important role in acclimatising users to mobile sites. These touch points are as significant for publishers to be involved in as traditional mediums,” he says.
Sites are currently categorised and overseen by an editorial team -– not an automated algorithm — to ensure relevance and quality. The directory is divided into 17 categories, including topics such as news, celebrity and travel.
Thumbtribe says it is free for sites to list and submit to the directory, although Thumbtribe’s listings team has a vetting process to ensure that the directory is “mobile and family-friendly”. Partner sites are required to carry links back to the directory to drive traffic within their network.
Mobile usage in South Africa
While mobile usage far outstrips PC usage in South Africa and the rest of Africa, the mobile web is not yet at its full potential.
For Graeme Haley, co-founder of Thumbtribe, this is because the industry lacks knowledge of how to design sites for the mobile web, and how to attract mobile users.
“The mobile web is fundamentally different from the standard World Wide Web – it is not suitable for scratching around and just stumbling on something. Many mobile websites are not yet optimised for search engines and the majority of mobile Web browsers are using devices with limited capabilities making browsing traditional ‘desktop’ Web content difficult.
“Desktop web users can browse. Mobile web users must hunt. Right now, if you want to find cool or useful .mobi sites relevant to Southern Africa, Best of the Mobile Web is the place to start”.
“Too many companies just take their website and make it smaller for mobile users and think their work is done. A true .mobi site is more than a mini-website: it must accommodate browsers limited by varying hardware, screen sizes and processing power, and also the different way users engage with the mobile web. Right now it’s often difficult to browse the mobile web and find what you want, which is something we’re looking to address,” says Haley.
DISCLOSURE: m.memeburn.com is listed on the ‘Best of the Mobile Web’ mobile directory