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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

From green pastures to walled gardens

For a long time now, consumers have been able to do just about everything on the Internet, from finding a shoe store to finding a mate. But we may have finally reached a tipping point, whereby the web simply offers too much, and consumers want to narrow their focus to a select few sites, products, services, or functions.

They’re called apps. And to borrow a slogan from the 70’s, they provide the user with all the functionality of their regular Internet, and less. It’s like having a walled garden within the wide-open pasture of the Internet.

Most apps are little more than web-based applications (websites that help you accomplish something, and which don’t look like websites). They give the consumer a means of getting quickly from point A to point B, or finishing a task without a bunch of browsing around. Apps have primarily been available on mobile phones (where surfing the web could be even more cumbersome), but they have been a part of the tablet revolution (think i-Pad) and are now available for computers: Apple launched their Mac app store just a couple of weeks ago.

For more on the matter, see this story from today’s Marketing Daily (click here to link).

Implications: The possibilities for the Internet may seem infinite, but it seems the attention span of the audience is not; “apps” provide the consumer a means to consistently call on a web-based function or service, without having to navigate the traffic of the web.

Apps are no longer just novelties. They are utilities. And the consumer is using them to take greater control of their digital experience, whatever the device.

What is the single most important thing your website (or company) helps the consumer accomplish from a website? (What would the consumer say it is?) Have you sufficiently communicated that function to your customers and prospects? (Are you seen as “the app” for that task?)

Mike Anderson

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