March 23, 2006
 

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Posted: 07.18.05

Mobile Domain Approved and Coming Soon

A new Top Level Domain (TLD), .mobi, created specially for mobile device users, was approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) at a Luxemburg meeting on July 11th. The mobile domain is expected to be up and running in the first quarter of 2006. Internet sites with a .mobi suffix are expected to start popping up soon thereafter. The URLs will be assigned next summer and owners of registered brands will be given a 90-day period to register their claim to similarly named .mobi addresses. The new domain is represented by mTLD, a joint venture between supporters including Ericcsson, GSM Association, Hutchison, Microsoft, Samsung Electronics, Nokia, Syniverse Technologies, TIM, T-Mobile and Vodaphone.
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By Rita Kushnir




The goal of the new suffix is to make Internet easier to navigate via cellular phones and other mobile devices by introducing a set of standards, such as fixed screen-size resolutions. The mobile sites will be configured to many types and sizes of mobile devices and the .mobi URLs will appear alongside .com addresses for many commercial Web sites. This is likely to increase the discoverability of mobile content. Mobile phone operators and handset manufacturers hope that by making mobile Internet more organized and visible, the separate domain will encourage customers to upgrade their phones and sign up for Internet services.

Practical usefulness of the new suffix, however, has been debated since the idea of it emerged a few years ago. The creation of only the domain itself doesn’t really do anything for the standards. For that matter, it doesn’t do much for the speed either. The term “mobi” requires eight key presses on most phones. Some companies have already set up mobile versions of their Web sites, which are doing fine as dot coms by implementing a script that detects the device being used to access the site and redirects users to the appropriate mobile version. These sites will have to be reconfigured and moved to .mobi. Furthermore, critics argue that by fragmenting the Web into mobile and non-mobile sections, mTLD goes against the fundamental Internet principle of device independence.
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