September 27, 2006 11:55 AM PDT

Analysts question the point of dot-mobi

Despite keen interest from registrants, the dot-mobi domain extension is not the key to getting users onto the mobile Internet, analysts believe.

The top-level domain, which went live on Tuesday, is intended to help on-the-go surfers find sites that will display well on handheld devices with small screens. But, say experts, the initiative is not the right approach toward solving the disparity in Web experiences between the PC and mobile phone.

"It's PR spin," Windsor Holden, a senior analyst with telecommunications consultancy Analysys, said Wednesday. "It's not going to make it any easier to access the content--in fact it will add a couple of keystrokes to what you're doing."

Holden said that creating a dot-mobi version of a site was "not the be-all and end-all" way to target the mobile market. He suggested that, given the trend toward convergence between fixed and mobile communications, site designers "have to realize (their) content will be accessible via a great range of devices."

James Enck, an analyst with Daiwa Securities, echoed this view.

"It's really about Web design rather than domains," he said. Referring to the example of Google Mail, which automatically scales itself to a mobile device, Enck said the site's presentation was "ideal."

"You don't need a separate domain to do that," he added, while suggesting that the dot-mobi initiative could be "another mobile industry attempt to control something that's uncontrollable--another quasi-walled garden."

Registrars, though, are more upbeat, claiming "very good interest" in the domain extension throughout its preregistration period. "Dot-mobi is our most popular domain since landrush, easily outstripping the likes of dot-co-dot-uk, dot-com and dot-net," a representative for registrar Fasthosts said Wednesday.

Fasthosts' representative said initial registrants were largely composed of "lots of mobile and telecom companies and brand protection," adding: "There is certainly a lot of name-securing going on, but there is also plenty of opportunity for specialist mobile Web sites being applied."

Neil Barton of Hostway also described a "significant interest in dot-mobi over the last couple of weeks as the preregistration period was coming to a close and over the last couple of days as it launched."

Holden speculated that the first wave of registrants could be "people dipping their toe into the water because they don't want to miss out," arguing that greater emphasis should be placed on "ensuring there is an enjoyable user experience on the mobile so this real opportunity to get the Internet beyond the fixed experience is not ignored."

"You've got applications like the Opera browser, which do it anyway. But looking forward, the key isn't to suddenly say 'We're going to create a special little category,' the key is to make the initial access a lot easier," he added.

David Meyer reported for ZDNet UK in London.

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I like .mobi
Funny, I just wrote about why .mobi is the first new domain introduction that makes sense. Sure, it will be nice when web pages automatically work well for the small screen, but this is a great solution and helps standardize mobile web browsing:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by andrew999999999 (42 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I admit up front that I am ignorant of this issue, I don't have a
cell phone and don't want one (I hate the telephone, having one
that is supposed to follow me around like a shadow is my
definition of hades:).

That said, I don't understand why anyone thinks the new .mobi
domain will actually mean anything. Unless I'm not
understanding more than I think, this is just another new top
level domain, right? There isn't some new protocol being defined
or some sort of "regulation" of the domain, is there? What's
stopping me from registering "" and simply
redirecting it to ""?

I understand the issue you detail in the quoted blog Andrew, but
isn't that blindly assuming that Google will register
""? With a monster like Google, it's probably a safe
bet. But my point is just because "" is registered,
what guarantee is there that it is actually owned by the same
people that own ""?

Plus, is there a guarantee that if I register "" then
that site will be mobile friendly? Google proves that there is
nothing preventing anyone from making a universal website that
works well with PC's and mobile devices (so I've heard), so where
is the need? Just to deal with lousy web designers? And if so,
where's the guarantee that this lousy web designer won't
register his ".mobi" domain and redirect it to the ".com" site, in
other words where's the guarantee that a ".mobi" site is
ACTUALLY mobile friendly?

This just sounds like a PR stunt to me (and a potentially
dangerous one at that, since it's opening up a whole new
domain for cybersquatting), but that's why I'm asking.
Posted by Dalkorian (3000 comments )
Link Flag
I believe in the great .mobi - I havent slept for days dwelling over how Im going to grab a piece of the action and run with it.

Time, patience, education and a few bucks is all it takes. About a month ago I got my simple mobile site going, , this was to catch a few search engines and a spider or two. But yesterday was exciting! I landed a few good names to start business with.

Oh! You want to know what they are? Well Im glad you asked!

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

Well, thats it for now. Almost had top40, waterfront, and SUV but I hesitated, oh well.

Come by my sites after a month or two and see whats going on.

Chuck Johnson

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://mobiHOP" target="_newWindow">http://mobiHOP</a>

get Hoppin!
Posted by mobihop (1 comment )
Link Flag

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