Thursday, April 6, 2006
Let's Talk About .mobi
Posted by Darius Wey in "THOUGHT" @ 09:00 AM
The .mobi TLD (top-level domain) is preparing for an official launch on May 22. Suffice to say, the world remains divided over its value, though some people like Russell Beattie seem to have reached a final conclusion - that is, it's here to stay and it's a 'good thing'. But is it really? Let's evaluate a few of the pros and cons. <!>
Reasons to Love .mobi
• It's easy to remember. To mouth off a couple of examples, MSN Mobile is accessible via http://mobile.msn.com/ and BBC News is accessible via http://www.bbc.co.uk/mobile/. A pain to remember? Maybe not, but try a hundred of your favourite mobile portals and you can see where all hell breaks loose. By replacing these confusing URLs with simple ones like msn.mobi and bbc.mobi, your neurons will thank you. In addition, the URLs of unknown sites no longer become a guessing game. They simply follow the format of <companyname>.mobi.
• .mobi sites follow a strict XHTML standard. This ensures that just about any Web-enabled mobile device can access all content without a hitch. Other standards that must be adhered to are the exclusion of frames and zero reliance on 'www' in the URL. That's right - all up, it equates to less typing, more browsing, and more pages that (finally) fit that tiny screen.
Reasons to Hate .mobi
• Another domain, another expense. Content distribution via a mobile-friendly template can exist on a .com gTLD (generic top-level domain). If you visit our site with your Pocket PC or Smartphone, you'll see it in action. Introducing a new .mobi standard increases costs by forcing site owners to register another domain. This might not be an issue for major companies, but for minor and/or non-profit companies, that added expense can bite hard on the budget.
• Separation, not unification. Some industry analysts have argued that the .mobi TLD only serves to divide the online world. Online resources should be widely accessible independent of the hardware being used, and naturally, all on the same domain. As mentioned earlier, content distribution via a desktop-friendly template and a mobile-friendly template can co-exist on the same TLD. Why turn away from this idea of 'unification' and instead separate our mobile and immobile operating environments via an exclusive .mobi TLD?
Some Real World Examples
But enough of the evaluating - why not try .mobi for yourself and see if it's worth it? Grab your Pocket PC or Smartphone, launch your web browser, and visit some of the concept sites currently available - to name a couple, weather.mobi (a mobile weather portal hosted by The Weather Channel), and cityguide.mobi (a local city search site). Then considering the pros and cons mentioned above (and any others you may have in mind), tell us whether .mobi is the right way to go.