Consumer Reports Launches Mobile Site
Consumer Reports is joining the mobile stampede with a new mobile Web site, CR Mobile, which gives consumers mobile access to product reviews, ratings, studies and related content including shopping advice, polls, user-generated content and reviews and CR blogs. Consumers can also choose to receive updates, including product recalls via text messages.
The site reformats the extensive data charts featured on the Consumer Reports Web site for easy browsing on the smaller screens of mobile devices. For example, users can view tested models in order of their overall scores, then navigate to see what factors went into each overall score. Alternatively, they can search for a specific model and then see its score compared to other models across various categories.
The CR Mobile site segments data into categories, including appliances, electronics, home and garden, and babies and kids. These will be joined by cars this summer.
One feature that appears exclusively on the mobile Web site, for now is a new service called "Compare" that consumers can use to compare products on their mobile devices. The new "Compare" feature will be available on the Web site by the end of the year.
The site will be free for people who already subscribe to ConsumerReports.org, and will also be available to non-subscribers (with options for $0.99 one-day access, and $4.99 30-day access). The site will be accessible to any Web-enabled mobile device, and owners of iPhone or Android smartphones can also watch videos posted on the site.
CircMatters Recognizes Circ Champs
The most recent issue of CircMatters, the magazine industry newsletter started by veteran media planner Jack Hanrahan, is recognizing 16 magazines for "circulation excellence." For the second annual "Circle of Success" issue, Hanrahan conducted his own analysis of all 500+ titles tracked by the Audit Bureau of Circulations to determine which ones did the best job delivering on circulation guarantees. It takes into account factors like current demand and price, changes in demand and price versus 2007, use of "pseudo-paid" subscriptions, and proportion of direct sales, versus sales through telemarketers and door-to-door teams.
Among the titles recognized: All You, The Economist, Fine Cooking, People, People en Espanol, People StyleWatch, Vanity Fair, Weightwatchers, and Yankee.
Magazines Sell Subs Via Facebook
Magazine publishers are gearing up to begin selling subscriptions using Facebook's news feed, according to Ad Age. Examples include Time Inc.'s Synapse, which is working with Alvenda to create e-commerce applications compatible with the Facebook news feeds for titles like InStyle. The Synapse-Alvenda system is expected to debut in July or August. It will also allow users to click on abbreviated magazine blurbs in the news stream to read the whole article, along with advertising.
Ripp Becomes Time Publisher
Brendan Ripp has been appointed publisher of Time. In this role, Ripp will also have responsibility for Time.com and Life.com (which continued operations after the newspaper-distributed magazine closed several years ago). Ripp previously served as vice president of advertising sales. In a memo to employees, president and group publisher Mark Ford explained that Ripp's appointment is part of the "formal integration of print and digital ad sales," which "will help our combined sales force respond faster and better to the changing print, digital, mobile and event needs of our clients."