Gini Dietrich

The Web Is Dead! Long Live Smartphones!

By: Gini Dietrich | May 1, 2012 | 

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

The web is dead!

I guess all those business owners who’ve told me all these years that their customer doesn’t use the web were right. I really hate being wrong. It rarely happens.

Yet here we are. What are we going to do?

I discovered this disturbing news as I’ve been reading about the Facebook purchase of Instagram. You know, the $1 billion purchase they made of a company with only 12 employees and no revenue? Yeah, that one.

I’m scared to death there is going to be another bubble burst. I’m scared to death we didn’t learn our lesson just 12 years ago in the dot com era. So I’m reading everything I can to try to figure out what the heck is going on.

And, as it turns out, it’s not a bubble stretch. The web is just dead.

The web has been dead for nearly two years, when Wired called it so in August of 2010. I didn’t get the memo because I’ve been using it for the past two years. I guess this is one of the few times I haven’t stayed ahead of the trends.

In all seriousness, people are spending more time in mobile apps than they do online, according to the International Telecommunication Union. And, another thing that is interesting is this (according to Flurry):

Since 2007, more than 500 million iOS and Android smartphones and tablets have been activated.  By the end of 2012, we estimate the cumulative number of iOS and Android devices activated will surge past one billion.  According to IDC, more than 800 million PCs were sold between 1981 and 2000, making the rate of iOS and Android smart device adoption more than four times faster than that of personal computers.

The smartphone rate of adoption is four times faster than that of personal computers.

Which means people really are spending more time in apps than on the web. And, because of that and because Facebook doesn’t have a great mobile app, the Instagram purchase begins to make sense.

While I wouldn’t count the web out just yet, there are a few things you should be considering:

  • Is your website mobile-optimized?
  • Do you still have flash? If so, get rid of it!
  • Are you considering Siri with the content you produce? She gives search results through apps before the web.
  • Are you paying attention to apps such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, and Belly?
  • Are you making it as easy as possible for your customers/clients to buy from you using their phones?

If you aren’t business ready for smartphones, the time is now.

P.S. I’m sorry if I made anyone worry yesterday. I got up to write and then decided, because I’ve been on the road so much, sleep was more important than a blog post. I went back to bed. But everything is fine!

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Hi Gini, Thanks for this! I guess it’s something to look into! You ask “Are you considering Siri with the content you produce?” How doe you do this?
    Things are changing so fast, aren’t they? Our Terra Cotta Pendant business is picking way up and I think it has partly to do with people becoming more comfortable ordering online than they were when we started in 2003. Now another leap to take. 

    • ginidietrich

       @Lori Anytime someone posts a review about your Terra Cotta products, you should be paying attention to where it’s happening. Because you don’t have a retail location, you have to worry less about Siri, but the site should be mobile-optimized so people can search for you and buy from their phones.

      •  @ginidietrich Thanks Gini, that’s what I need to look into – making the site mobile-optimized. 

        • ginidietrich

           @Lori It’s not very hard…or very expensive.

  • What drives me nuts are the number of web designers that are still using flash, and also aren’t automatically making websites mobile-friendly. When I work with a client who is in desperate need of a new website, and on a tight budget, it’s hard to find someone who can help them, and is on top of what they need.

    •  @KenMueller Ummm, Ken…not hard to find someone to help! Next time call us! 😉

      •  @sydcon_mktg Ha, well I try to stay local. But we should talk. The big issue for my small biz clients is the money.

        •  @KenMueller I hear you on staying local.  But if you need something & cant find it local let me know.

    • ginidietrich

       @KenMueller Like @sydcon_mktg suggests, there are plenty of people out there who are really good at this and don’t cost a fortune.

      •  @ginidietrich @KenMueller actually @sydcon_mktg charges only $5.99 per site to format for mobile.

  • blfarris

    @ginidietrich I’m beginning to think that “___ is dead!” headlines are dead.

    • ginidietrich

      @blfarris Which is exactly why I wrote the smart aleck blog post. It’s kind of ridiculous

      • blfarris

        @ginidietrich I get it. I’m too “in” it. It turns into white noise — My comment wasn’t a criticism as much as it was a smart alec comment.

  • Would it be totally self-serving of me to enhance your argument with a link to my latest post, “Wherever and Whenever They Demand It”? It’s at http://www.StalledStuckorStale,com and the title comes from a quote about consumer purchasing expectations. I think we’re all behind the curve. 

  • Would it be totally self-serving of me to enhance your argument with a link to my latest post, “Wherever and Whenever They Demand It”? It’s at
    The title comes from a quote about consumer purchasing expectations. I think we’re all behind the curve. 

  • Guess who’s back, back again, Guess who’s back, tell a friend…Gini’s back, Gini’s back, Gini’s back! Eminem re-wrote that song for you. I agree with the notion that smartphones are changing the game; but isnt it still the web? Maybe it’s desktops that are dying 🙂  

    • ginidietrich

       @SociallyGenius Um, yes. It is still the web. Hence my sarcasm in the first part of the blog post. I need a sarcasm font!

      • @ginidietrich or maybe I just don’t read very well. And I think they have a couplensarcasm font.. Italics or Bold Italics. And for your information, I actually sang above Gini’s back song aloud!

        • ginidietrich

           @SociallyGenius  Oh please, please, please record yourself singing that for me!

    •  @SociallyGenius  I think I’m with you. Maybe it’s not that anything has to “die” for new channels to emerge. TV’s still alive. Radio’s still alive. Newspapers, um, well…

      • @Steve McKee what are these newspaper things you speak of? They sound ancient!

        •  @SociallyGenius  @Steve Despite their problems, the top 25 newspapers in the United States have a paid print circulation of well over 12 million. That’s 12 million people PAYING to read the paper, and that’s only the top 25. That is paying, not how many people read those 25 newspapers in all their variations – print, web, digitlal and mobile. There are about 13,000 daily and weekly newspapers in the United States today. A lot of struggles to be sure, but a lot of good things going on as well, as newspapers deal with the challenges of providing news every day to a changing audience.
          Even on the side of ad declines, which are real, radio’s decline has been just as steep, and local television is suffering, and both are seeing declines in audience. Yet they aren’t considered dead?
          Newspapers are very much alive, working, and most are still quite profitable. Don’t count them out yet.

  • Law of large numbers. #ThatIsAll

    •  @Sean McGinnis Sure easy for someone taller than me to say.

      • ginidietrich

         @HowieSPM  @Sean McGinnis LOL!!

        •  @ginidietrich  @Sean McGinnis funny that there was a time Gini thought I was as tall as you Sean and she had hopes I could take you down in a UFC fight. Then I burst her bubble.

  • You are right the web is dead. And wrong the web is thriving.
    Prior to smart phones we left home with our cell phone and left the web. Now we bring data with us. When I used to see all these articles on Mobile Video and how it was taking over I thought ‘That is why so many big screen TV’s are bought because we want to watch movies on a 4″ screen?’
    I see this as an ‘AND’ not and ‘Or’
    I prefer reading news on a bigger screen than my phone. But I use a lot of news apps on my phone. The overall web experience on your laptop blows away your phone for everything from shopping to video to web surfing.
    BUT the web sucks on the phone. I mentioned this yesterday to @SociallyGenius I was at the gym. He tweeted a blogpost. I clicked. browser opened. The post was formatted for mobile. But it had the same share tab on the left you do taking up 25% of my view. Also commenting sucks on mobile web. APPS will not replace this.
    So the answer is we now use apps when mobile for certain tasks or entertainment that before the smart phone we would of done nothing because we wouldn’t have our laptop or desk top.

    •  @HowieSPM I’m partially with you on this, Howie.  I see mobile as being less about the battle for the 1st screen (i.e. your TV) but about the battle for the second screen (tablet or smartphone).  Pew released a study late last year about the rise of mobile app/internet usage. Among respondents, peak usage was from 6pm – 11pm, the time that most people are home and watching TV.  Brands like AMC have leveraged this to good effect, producing web-only content to complement what’s on the big screen.  With the Walking Dead, they had fan chats, interactive polls and the like to build further engagement *while* people were watching the show.  
      I also think about Amazon’s barcode/screen capture functionality in the mobile app.  It’s what companies like BestBuy have to overcome – the showrooming effect. I can go into a BestBuy, go hands-on with a product, ask installation questions, etc — and then do a quick price comparison on Amazon just by snapping a photo or scanning the UPC code. Guess who usually gets my business, especially with free two day shipping on Prime.  
      Talking with some friends about this, they’ve noted that if an item isn’t available on Amazon, they question its trustworthiness. Interesting. 

      • ginidietrich

         @jasonkonopinski  @HowieSPM The thing Amazon is doing to other retailers is both great (from a consumer perspective) and scary (from a business perspective). They’re completely commoditizing everything from phones and laptops to books and clothes. I agree they get my business as a consumer, but it makes me sad to see what they’re doing to the rest of the world.

        •  @ginidietrich  @jasonkonopinski I agree with you Jason that we often have second and even third screens. I use way more APPS than mobile web. Probably a 90% to 10% because if an APP is done well it replaces the need for the web.
          I often use my Droid while my computer and tv are going because I get twitter alerts and texts etc. But mobile is not as rich an experience as full web due to the small screen, But I don’t need a big screen to check sports scores or the weather.
          And yes Gini I agree. The one issue I have with Amazon is with brick and mortar. If all the physical stores all had the same price then they could compete on service. Service with a smile. Amazon competes on ease of shopping/purchasing online. Not the same. if I went to Best Buy and saw a TV and got a sales person truly help me with features and benefits then Amazon gets the sale because they don’t need a show room or sales people that is kind of jacked up.

        •  @ginidietrich  @HowieSPM Oh I’m of the same mindset. Convenience is the biggest motivator for consumers, I’d say. Probably slightly more so than price. 
          I have at least one friend who orders consumables like dog treats and deodorant on Amazon, every 30 days, because it’s (a) cheaper once you factor in cost of travel (even minimally) and (b) the convenience factor. No struggling with traffic, parking spaces, check outs. One click and it’s done.  That sort of efficiency is hard to stand up against in the B&M world. 
          Even for goods sold on Amazon that aren’t fulfilled by Amazon, it’s a function of reach and exposure. Amazon’s ecommerce system is hefty and fully-featured for minimal cost, so it makes sense that even independent retailers have a presence there. 
          Now, I still support plenty of small, independent retailers in my area as well as those online, because they provide unique products that I can’t find elsewhere. 😉 

    • ginidietrich

       @HowieSPM  @SociallyGenius You know I agree with you. What I have a problem with is this whole “the web is dead” baloney. We can’t get apps and blogs and online newspapers without the web. It’s very well and alive.

  • foundingmom

    I didn’t believe you until I realized that I’m reading and commenting on this from my smartphone. Nice work!

    •  @foundingmom your phone isn’t smart on it’s own. You make it smart 8)

      •  @HowieSPM  I make my smart……..

      •  @HowieSPM  That was supposed to be ‘I make MINE smart’….see, it doesn’t take much……..

      • foundingmom

         @HowieSPM true.  so, geniusphone, really.

    • ginidietrich

       @foundingmom Ha! 

  • BTW my sister acosta got a 4S and there was seriously like over an hour period where Siri got everything wrong!

    • ginidietrich

       @HowieSPM  It did the same to me. You have to train her! Now she calls me Princess Gini.

      •  @ginidietrich how did you train her? My sister tried an electric cattle prod..the same one she used to train her cat to do back flips and it didn’t work.

        • ginidietrich

           @HowieSPM Well, that’s the problem. You have to talk to her. Nicely.

  • And I thought you were super woman; it’s hard to fathom that a blister on your toe took you out of the game…….nah, you are still SuperWoman; it’s just so many people count on your consistent presence it did raise an eyebrow or two. If anybody deserves a hall pass it would be you ma’am. 
    Makes sense to me; that’s why I like hanging around you because you know what’s going on and what we should be doing. I can’t say I always take your advice, but that’s just because I’m generally a slug; not because I don’t believe you.
    Good luck w/ the book tour. 

    • ginidietrich

       @bdorman264 Heck, I don’t always take my own advice!

  • AConcierges

    @shonali @ginidietrich This was great!

  • paulseaman

    RT @shonali @ginidietrich The Web Is Dead! Long Live Smartphones! via @ginidietrich

  • rustyspeidel

    Just read this one also.
    Worth considering. I’ve lived through the other transitions, and it’s never pretty. 

    • ginidietrich

       @rustyspeidel I don’t think FB will last forever, either. It’s what I say when I speak – be good at business, be flexible and nimble enough to incorporate the new tools, but don’t be an expert at using the tools.

  • rustyspeidel

    If you consider the internet network the web, then yes it is thriving. The platforms that deliver us the content are constantly reinventing themselves. They always have, they always will, as will the business models that support (or don’t support) them. 

    • ginidietrich

       @rustyspeidel As it turns out, we’re using the web to comment here!

      •  @ginidietrich  @rustyspeidel I am using an Etcher Sketch to comment!

  • savithoughts

    Wait a minute, wait a minute @ginidietrich. Am I missing something or couldn’t the faster rates of adoption of mobile devices over pcs/macs/laptops be because the same group (which is a minority) of early adopters keep trading in the old smartphones for the new, while us mainstream majority folks are holding on to our laptops longer? This is as bad as the news I got in 2008 that printed newspapers were dead, followed closely in 2009 that the paper hardcover book was dead. Still reading both in print and enjoying it.  

    • ginidietrich

       @savithoughts What?! You can still get newspapers and books? I actually don’t know how they came up with that stat…it would be interesting to see if it’s the same group of people. I upgrade my phone as quickly as they come out, but Mr. D still has his first generation iPhone. I wonder if I count as four stats in there instead of just one?

  • Responsive. Design. #thatisall

    •  @jasonkonopinski Love responsive design for most websites.  As long as clients don’t see it as a one-size-fits all solution.  Info heavy sites need a slimmed down mobile site that is also responsive.  Especially in areas that are still rocking 3G (or worse).  

      • ginidietrich

         @HeatherTweedy  @jasonkonopinski What?!? Areas still rock 3G? 🙂

        •  @ginidietrich  @HeatherTweedy Hush, Gumby. 😉
          This area just got a big 4G rollout – on Verizon. I’m on AT&T. Dagnabit.
          Heather, I completely agree. I’ll take it a step further and say that with the ubiquity of WordPress as the CMS for so many business websites, selecting a mobile-optimized theme isn’t exactly rocket science. 🙂 

        •  @jasonkonopinski  @ginidietrich  @HeatherTweedy Verizon has 4G here in Albany and only for Androids. IPhone is only 3G. But they have crappy coverage in Vermont lacking even 1G in most areas. I go about an hour without any service when I drive there or back.

    • ginidietrich

       @jasonkonopinski LOL! I KNEW that was what you were going to comment!

  • ginidietrich

    @bdorman264 I prefer the pigeon carrier

  • ginidietrich

    @GrizzardComm LOL! That’s a heck of a paraphrase!

    • GrizzardComm

      @ginidietrich Heh … and oh, so accurate.

  • To be honest I was a bit worried and then my whole day was thrown off! 😉

    • ginidietrich

       @rachaelseda I’m so sorry! You know how you have those days where you just can’t do it? Yeah…

  • Apps are dead! Long live annoying Google glasses!

    • ginidietrich

       @JayDolan I can’t decided if I want to buy those or not. I feel like they’d give me a headache, but they’re REALLY FREAKING COOL!

  • Smartphones are still cheaper than a good computer.

    • ginidietrich

       @TheJackB And easier to carry, too.

      •  @ginidietrich But not as easy to compose on…

  • I think you’re right about the adoption of mobile influencing how Web site development and delivery.  But I don’t think the Web is dead – maybe the browsing of the web on a home computer.  The shift may just represent people moving their browsing to a mobile device from a computer. I liken it to people who say they don’t watch TV yet consume shows via hulu or netflix on their iPad, etc. They are still consuming a broadcast, it’s just the delivery mechanism has changed.
    Thanks for the review. Hope it’s not a bubble.

    • ginidietrich

       @Collectual I don’t really think it’s dead either…we kind of need it to have access to all the stuff we use.

  • ChrisQueso

    I don’t know about any of y’all but I can fit my trusty laptop in the front pouch of my overalls 🙂

    • ginidietrich

       @ChrisQueso LMAO!!! 

  • ginidietrich

    @btrounson Ha! Thanks!

  • ginidietrich

    @ericamallison Yes! Cover your keyboard!

  • ginidietrich

    @SaaSCMO I wonder if it’ll get to the point that everyone does it because they have to, not because they want to?

    • SaaSCMO

      @ginidietrich The time btwn “want to” and “have to” may be very short. People will be caught flat-footed.

      • ginidietrich

        @SaaSCMO I agree

  • I am still cool even though I use the web from my home pc AND tweet from That’s right baby – I am the ultimate late adopter!
    By the time I get an iPhone, AT&T will be giving them away for free with a two year contract!

    • ginidietrich

       @NancyD68 But you have a bat…so no one is going to mess with you!

      •  @ginidietrich I am the only idiot at Starbucks without a device! It is kind of sad. I need a tissue….

        • ginidietrich

           @NancyD68 But at least you’re at Starbucks!

  • EylerWerve

    What? Uh, no. Smartphones are going to be using the Web. Same web. Different device. Native apps are in a much weaker position than a web experience that can travel cross platform: laptop, TV, ereader, phone. Same web. Different stylesheets. 

    • ginidietrich

       @EylerWerve LOL! Yes…exactly. That’s why I need a sarcasm font. I was totally being sarcastic. Kind of bummed that didn’t come through…

  • rdopping

    I feel smarter on my PC, er….laptop……er, tablet…..ummm……smartphone. Sigh.

    • ginidietrich

       @rdopping You just go with whatever makes you feel comfortable. We won’t judge.

  • I’ve read that one of the biggest problems of FB is that given that the great majority of users surf through the app they cannot yet monetize this traffic and it’s their biggest concern. Well this is probably not such a big problem for someone who can pay that sum for Instagram. Right? 🙂
    But the smartphone thing is a worldwide trend or just in USA?

    • ginidietrich

       @Andrea H. | The Hypnotism Weekly I think the U.S. lags in this trend. Smartphones are a way of life in Asia, for instance, and in countries where electricity is scarce. I have a friend who served in Afghanistan and she says everyone there has a phone that they charge for the hour a day they’re allowed electricity. 

      •  @ginidietrich Yeah in Nigeria, everyone has a cell phone, and I’ve yet to meet a person who didn’t at least have a Blackberry. Even my grandmother, who basically lives in an upscale village, has a Blackberry. Lots of folks with iPhones.

  • amazing_dw

    @JustInTheSouth times are changing.

    • JustInTheSouth

      @amazing_dw yes they are! I need to hear more about what that means for you, soon.

      • amazing_dw

        @JustInTheSouth paper plates are never going to be a style

        • JustInTheSouth

          @amazing_dw HA! Nope. Well not for a little while yet!

        • amazing_dw

          @JustInTheSouth true, tomorrow is un-written today.

        • JustInTheSouth

          @amazing_dw So TRUE! Now lets get to work and write what we want.

        • amazing_dw

          @JustInTheSouth how a unicycle will never leave you relaxed.

        • JustInTheSouth

          @amazing_dw That will be a good start

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  • rachaelseda

    @skypulsemedia HAHA you’re hilarious.

  • dcabfab

    @Tinu @ginidietrich Wait, WHAT? I just signed up for AOL and the Web is dead?? #movingatthespeedoflife

    • Tinu

      @dcabfab @ginidietrich lol

    • ginidietrich

      @dcabfab HAHAHAHAH!! LOL!!

  • seandoes

    I’m curious how many of these 500B activations are unique people? I’d bet people buy mobile devices more frequently than PCs. I’d love to see the numbers normed to account for device abandonment every two years as contract expire. 

    • ginidietrich

       @seandoes I don’t know…someone else asked that and I tried to find it broken down, to no avail. 

    • Jonathan Eyler Werve

       @seandoes You get it via polling. Pew does this. If I recall correctly…In the US, 78% have a computer+broadband in the home. ~30% of people have a smart* phone. *self reported, there’s definition issues.

  • jonbuscall

    Just come to Sweden, Gini, and sit on the subway. I think every person on the T-bana is either looking at an iphone, android or ipad. Mr Teens and his friends don’t take pen and paper to class. They take notes on their iphones.  

  • fatpplstories

    @wagnerwrites That doesn’t make any sense!

    • wagnerwrites

      @fatpplstories Yes, it’s going to be a problem!

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