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May 11, 2009 06:15 PM

Will you PLEASE fix chowhound mobile please?

Apple just sold the BILLIONTH iphone application. Every single one of those sales was through a mobile browser. Every single one of those purchasers eats. Every single one of those eaters is locked out of chowhound.

It's not just incompetent design and engineering; given the potential scale of user numbers, it's fiscally irresponsible.

Example case: I'm in chinatown, oakland, ca this afternoon. Wondering where's that bahn mi place that's not the one I always go to but the other one people mention a lot. I google "bahn mi oakland" on my phone. Tons of hits. I click on one that looks promising. It's some guy's blog who gives a link to the "most thorough coverage" of the oakland bahn mi scene. Excellent!

Oh wait, not excellent. Sadly, the link is to chowhound. I click it. Instead of what I want, I get redirected to the useless and rather pathetic mobile site. "Outlast Lip Stain" it tells me amidst all sorts of other irrelevant crap.

There's a "visit" website link at the bottom, but that's absolutely useless because the boneheads who designed it decided the right thing was to throw away all information about what page I was intending to visit. Instead of directing me to my intended page on chowhound, instead I end up at the chow home page. And there's no option there to re-do my search.

I was able to find what I was looking for on yelp. Presumably like those billion other people who can't use chowhound.

Anyway, here is the immediate short-term fix you need to put in place while your legal department sorts out the quapi disaster:

Wherever it is you're doing the re-direct based on user-agent, add a check for the referrer field. If there is a referrer, this means that the user is following a link from somewhere else and has something specific they want to see. Be a sport and show it to them. Rather than second guessing and showing them an ad for lip gloss.

Even if you insist on believing that annoying potential users is a viable, long-term strategy -- and continue to require that they see the lip gloss advertisement no matter what -- set some cookie or modify the url to contain the users' original target. When they (like -everybody- and I'm sure your webserver logs will verify it) click the "show me the website", take them to the page they were initially going after rather than the useless and dead-end homepage.

I'm sorry for typing with such heavy fingers. But it's been almost a year now and there's no sign of progress.

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  1. So tell us how you really feel . . .

    But it is annoying that this site uses technology from 2001. With the number of views, you'd think they'd invest a tad more into this.

    2 Replies
    1. re: alwayscooking

      I think the mobile site works as designed:

      1. user views ad
      2. chow gets paid for view
      3. Mission accomplished!!

      1. re: Bossa_Nova


        (OK, more than once, because I'm a slow learner, but believe me, I'm too busy swearing at Chowhound at that stage to notice anybody's advertising.)

    2. I'm new to iPhone. I was delighted on Monday when picked up my new phone and was able to browse this site in full as well as reply and use the report buttons. This afternoon I had to restore, that is wipe out my phone, and now I can't get past the m.chow site. The chow homepage, my chow and message board indices load fine, but I can't get into the threads except in read-only mode. Clicking on full site only takes me to the chow homepage, not the thread I'm trying to read and reply to.

      Did Chow change something today? Or is this problem on my side, and if so, please tell me how to change my settings to be able to browse the full site functionality.

      Please advise before the weekend, my iphone is supposed to be my lifeline this week.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        I edited the full site URL to include chowhound as shown above and it seems to have done the trick. The button on the read only screen should be changed to work for message boards and not frustrate readers by redirecting to the wrong pages. Replying from iphone .