Monday, June 14, 2010

Rodale looks to bring on in-house mobile developer

In a move that I applaud heartily, Rodale Inc., the publisher of such magazines as Prevention, Men's Health, and Runner's World, is advertising for an iPhone/iPad Developer.
The job describes the role of the new hire as overseeing and growing the brand's applications, as well as working with designers and IT to develop scalable applications.

Rodale has been quick to adopt mobile media applications as a way to expand their brand presence with 19 apps of the iPhone currently in the iTunes app store, and four iPad apps. But the company's iPad app efforts have not been ambitious and have been widely criticized by iPad owners. The problem, like that of many publisher's apps, is that the app itself is free to download, but only leads to an opportunity to buy the magazine at full price.

But even ignoring the price issues, the problem with apps like those offered by Rodale are that they are essentially flipbooks -- PDFs converted for reading on the iPad. Reviewers inside iTunes have been brutal in their judgements, as a result. The Men's Health app, for instance, has 219 ratings, of which 134 are one-star (the lowest possible), while 17 are five-star (friends and family?).

By bringing on an in-house developer Rodale is making a wise investment in the future. A developer will be able to constantly work on stabilizing the new apps, as well as bringing in new capabilities. (The job posting also mentions that Blackberry and Android knowledge will be helpful.)
Good move.