Monday, September 20, 2010

Morning Brief: dragging classifieds into the 21st Century; two new Google Voice apps get approved by Apple

Good Monday morning: the Giants are in first place, the Raiders won (and being in Chicago I suppose I am forced to acknowledge the Bears and Packers, too), so all is well -- at least until tonight when the 49ers get crushed by the Saints. Now it's back to work.

There was a time when the folks in classified were on top of the pyramid. In California, our classified association meetings were always in Monterey or Palm Springs, the national meetings were in places like Banff or Aspen, and all the other newspaper departments would be jealous of what classified managers could get away with. But, in the end, they knew who paid the bills, so life was a good as a CAM.
Now, no one seems to want to talk about classified advertising. The future of newspapers is now the future of journalism, and advertising is rarely part of the conversation. As a result, few media apps have been released that even give a nod towards those ads that appear in those back pages of the newspaper.

Luckily for newspapers, their nemesis, Craig's List, with its clunky web UI is not much of a threat to lead the way to smartphones and the iPad. But that is not stopping developers from seeing gold in those little ads. As of this morning, a search of the iTunes App Store brings up 39 apps for the iPhone and a half dozen for the iPad.
Among the many out there Craigslist Pro for iPad is certainly among the best -- but iPhone and iPad users can pick and choose their developers to see what they like best.

For traditional media companies the real issue here is that they are determined to be as behind the curve moving to mobile and tablet media devices as they were to move online. Even companies like CareerBuilder are not players in the new space, with only one iPhone app under their name, and even that one won't allow you to apply for a job you find right from the app. (, too, has an iPhone app, though it has not been well received by iPhone owners either. Neither company has anything for the iPad.)

Is the problem that when it comes to new mobile publishing decisions that the ad departments are not part of the team making decisions?

It appears that Apple really is loosening their app restrictions. Two new apps have appeared for Google Voice, though both are from independent developers. GV Mobile + is from Sean Kovacs, and GV Connect is from Andreas Amann. Both are paid apps, though it is possible that Google will resubmit their own app and provide a free alternative.

I have not tested either app simply because of issues with multiple sign-in with the apps, but both apps have been enthusiastically received.

In case you are not a Google Voice users here is a brief explanation of it: Google Voice gives you a phone number that when called will ring on any phone you designate; GV gives the user voicemail, voicemail to text, and now you can call any number in the U.S, and Canada from G-Mail for free.

The bottom line is this: voice calls are moving to free -- that means the money in phone calls won't be in the charge for making them, but the charge for providing Internet connectivity.