WolframAlpha responds to the great mobile site slaying of ‘09 [follow-up]

by Mike
Posted December 4th, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Yes folks, another follow-up. This time it’s the good boys and girls over at WolframAlpha, the intelligent, thinking search engine. If you recall, the big stink was raised yesterday when WA pulled their mobile optimized page leaving the normal page the sole solution for mobile users. To make matters worse, they made it so you were starring at a massive page filling ad encouraging you to purchase the $50 (yes that’s $50 with two digits to the left of the decimal) iPhone app. Well, there’s a problem with that. The app had to be clicked on to get around for starters. Other knocks include a sub-par browsing experience on the full version of the site via a mobile device. And finally, no mention of the change was posted on their blog, catching users off guard. ReadWriteWeb’s Frederic Lardinois got a chance to talk to WolframAlpha’s iPhone app product manager, Schoeller Porter. Porter defends the action saying…

…that the real reason for the plug pulling was because no one used the mobile optimized site. A quick stroll through the vast chambers of Google reveal quite the opposite however with many users upset that now they have to make due without a mobile site or pony up $50 to get the same thing they received for free before. I’d personally like to see some traffic stats to the mobile site before making any more judgments. If there really wasn’t much traffic left, then so be it. But if it is as many have speculated, that it was simply a move to push more people into paying up, then shame on them. Anyone use WolframAlpha before? WolframAlpha app users who spent the $50 to join the club: Was it worth it?


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