The writing is on the wall.
Well, it’s not quite on the wall. It’s actually been re-painted because nobody’s bothered.
In the headline above, I paraphrased the site’s co-founder, Dan Carter. I should be explicit and say that he didn’t actually say, “there’s nothing to write about”. No, it’s actually worse. A lot worse. In his final post, Dan explains that the key reason for closing the site is because, “Nokia have stopped being as creative as they once were.”
Dan goes on to cite bug-filled £500 devices and the Nokia N97 in particular. The main issue for Dan though was content:
“All the [Nokia] phones ended up feeling pretty much the same due to the tired Symbian OS.”
Dan then points out how Android came from nowhere to version 2.2 in just two years, with the chaps behind it iterating fast in response to user and developer feedback.
Dan finishes his explanation with this statement:
“Other players have moved with the times and Nokia is still dragging it’s heels, you only need to see the large quantity of Nokia fans who have parted ways with the company and moved onto a different platform such as Android or iPhone.”
Dan’s not alone in pointing this out. Micky over at NokiaDNA raised the same issue a week or so ago too.
What are the implications of this news?
It’s a serious, serious problem. The online media landscape is perfectly fine when it comes to Android and iPhone. There are hundreds of sites, big and small, catering to almost every element of those platforms. There were a lot focused around Nokia, but over the years their owners moved on to pastures new. Indeed, many of those running some of the larger iPhone, Android or mobile generalist sites actually cut their teeth with a Nokia-related site.
Online economics make the publishing of content a bit of a mug’s game. You really have to either be doing it for the fun of it, or be utterly serious and follow the click-through crowd, which means churning releases and news as quickly as possible. For that reason, the vast majority of sites focused around Nokia news and opinion are more or less voluntary. Oh, there might be some revenue from Google or the like — but the revenue isn’t usually enough to support the income requirements of one or two editorial staff.
Nokia has been working hard with it’s own Conversations site and with it’s social media entity, WOMWorld. Those sites are good, however they’re heavily reliant on an ecosystem of sites to help act as both an echo-chamber (retweeting and re-publishing Nokia’s own news) and providing fodder for the Conversations and WOMWorld editors to re-publish and cite.
That ever dwindling ecosystem is now reduced by one this evening. That’s one less guy to rave about the N8. (I mean seriously ‘rave’, rather than just cover it and dismiss it because it’s Nokia and Symbian). That’s one less guy to cheer-lead Nokia’s achievements and defend the company’s detractors (i.e. almost the whole market, now!). It’s also one less chap to come along to the Nokia World events and find out what the company’s doing. And it’s one less guy to write creative, helpful content for Nokia users searching Google for help. More than once have I actually ended-up on a WorldofNokia.co.uk post thanks to a Google search — and found myself delighted that Dan decided to write a post that answered my query exactly. Nokia has lost a brilliant (and entirely free) resource to help them sell more mobile phones.
Share price effecting?
Oh don’t get me wrong, I do not expect to see Nokia close down 10 points because of this news. The company’s already in the doldrums. But why is this still a critical issue? Well, it’s simple: It’s a reflection of Nokia’s current position and reputation in the Western market. And don’t tell me that market is irrelevant to you, Nokia. It’s not. It’s utterly critical — you just haven’t seen the results of it yet.
Things have to be pretty bad when the guy who founded a site named WorldofNokia decides not to bother any more. It’s even worse when he’s not alone. Gerry Moth, another noted Nokia enthusiast shuttered his NokiaAddict site recently in favour of a more generic brand. How long until Rafe Blandford re-focuses the almighty All About Symbian?
I saw Rafe with an HTC Desire the other week, that’s all I’m saying. ;-)
It’s not all bad news
No, it’s not all bad news. Dan is going to continue to be writing about mobile atCoolSmartphone. I’m sure he’ll keep one eye on Nokia now and again.
Every success Dan!