While the anti-adult content stance espoused by Apple effectively reduces the options for adult app marketers, mobile-compatible websites targeting the iPhone and its cousins can reach this audience without any help from the App Store — although there is no denying the appeal of the App Store’s ready audience.
Planners, even those considering iPhone-only offerings, must accommodate a number of influences when deciding on the best approach to mobilizing their content.
One of the fundamental issues is compatibility: mobile websites are accessible by all Internet-enabled phones, while apps target a specific platform. Browser limitations and other factors mean apps typically deliver a better user experience than do mobile sites, allowing developers to leverage the power of advanced Smartphones.
Traffic is another concern. Unlike apps, search engines index mobile sites, allowing them to generate their own organic traffic, while apps require a greater traffic investment.
Startup costs are also very different between the two approaches, as a mobile website requires only one production approach — while mobile apps require customization for each targeted platform — dramatically upping your development and deployment costs and sending update expenses skyward as app revisions pace firm and hardware upgrades.
It is also important to realize that the majority of apps are currently free offerings, with adult examples commonly used as a brand-introducing hook into a paysite or other closely targeted offer and in this regard, may best serve webmasters as a marketing tool.
“If you have developers on staff with the requisite skills and knowledge to develop apps, or the capital to outsource the development of apps, it is definitely best to take a multi-prong approach to the mobile market and create both mobile websites (or ‘web apps’) as well as apps,” Q. Boyer, director of public relations for TopBucksMobile.com, told XBIZ. “Obviously, the Apple App Store is closed off to porn at this point, but there’s a growing Android market, a mature-app-specific Android app store (Mikandi), and no indication that Android will be closed to developers of adult in the future.”