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Old 07-11-2005, 04:39 PM   #1
Colin Dunstan
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The .mobi domain wins ICANN approval

Creating mobile-specific top level domain names will soon be possible with ICANN's recent approval of the controversial .mobi domain. At PalmAddicts (via BBC News) we read: Soon it could be much easier to browse the net on a mobile phone. Approval for a .mobi domain has been given by the organisation that oversees the net's addressing system. Websites that use the .mobi domain will be created specifically for mobile devices such as handsets and handheld computers to make them easy to find and browse. The first websites using the new .mobi domain are expected to appear by late summer next year.
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Old 07-11-2005, 04:54 PM   #2
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Sigh.

Hopefully by "late summer next year", web developers will gain some clue and learn how to develop sites that work with the same source content for mobile AND desktop clients, without using any UserAgent detection... this is all possible today, with current technologies.

Most developers take the lazy way out however, and just duplicate their work in multiple places instead of spending the time up-front to do it right. Ah well, they'll come around... eventually.

I wonder why they didn't just use a .wap TLD there instead of .mobi, and if you're going to use 4 letter TLDs, why not just go all the way, use .mobile.
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Old 07-11-2005, 05:39 PM   #3
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Sorry to be so pessimistic on this one, but I don't see much benefit. Kind of like .com vs .org. How much does that really help the web visitor?

I don't think this will do what we hope it will do, i.e. make things simpler for the mobile web user to find sites. And it's not really going to help us get nice mobile sites. Like Hacker says, many people will have different approaches to "mobile" versions. I'm afraid many or most will be pretty bad. Plus you won't know if the site is even aimed at phones or tablets or pdas or what.

To get to a nice mobile site you pretty much need to know the specific url in advance anyway. So the only thing you gain is a tiny little bit of consistency, like there will probably be a wsj.com and a wsj.mobi. Oh yeah, and you'll still have to pay for that one, for example, anyway!

Am I missing something and gone pessimistic for no reason? What's the benefit here, other than it's maybe easier to remember www.cnn.mobi than www.cnn.com/mobile or www.cnn.com/avantgo or whatever it is that they use? Surely there's more to it than that!?
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Old 07-11-2005, 06:33 PM   #4
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... and who is going to decide upon the standards required to be fulfilled in order to qualify for a .mobi domain? (see Tim Berners-Lee's criticism)
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Old 07-12-2005, 12:07 AM   #5
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Speaking as a website developer and someone who actually pines for some of his sites to be mobile friendly out of the box, I think that this will be a good thing. For one, it will make it just a touh easier for mobile browsers to be locked out of the regular .com web and be filtered thru the .mobi version.

THe one who made the comment about who makes the standards for mobile versions. There is already a Wc3 standard for creating mobile sites, and its basically involves using CSS and ems to make sure that no matter what mobile screen is there, things would look proportional. As for current sites who dont/wont make time for mobile versions, one can make a handheld.css file and then use the meta direct to make sure that when viewed on a handheld that the site will always look great in mobile. I am working on this latter piece for the Mobile Ministry Magazine site that I do and aside from the occasional non standards playing browsers on the side of handhelds, it does work ok. Maybe we will soon get to the point that all designers will use smarter CSS and div buillding to make sites work instead of just flash (yes that was a barb at myself and my personal site which is all Flash)
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Old 07-12-2005, 02:08 AM   #6
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This is just a ploy to earn more cash from domain name registrations.
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Old 07-12-2005, 03:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antoine of MMM
There is already a Wc3 standard for creating mobile sites, and its basically involves using CSS...
Antoine, it was exactly the WC3 who expressed their concerns that a .mobi TLD would go against the core principles of the Internet:

Quote:
This domain will have a drastically detrimental effect on the Web. By partitioning the HTTP information space into parts designed for access from mobile access and parts designed (presumably) not for such access, an essential property of the Web is destroyed.
Quote:
It is true that to to optimize the use of any device, an awareness on the part of the server allows it to customize the content and the whole layout of a site. However, the domain name is perhaps the worst possible way of communicating information about the device. Devices vary in many ways, including:
  • Network bandwidth at the time,
  • Screen size and resolution,
  • Intermittent or continuous connectivity,
and so on. While with the current technology, the phrase "Mobile" may equate roughly in many minds to "something like a cell phone", it is naive -- and pessimistic -- to imagine that this one style of device will be the combination that will endure for any length of time. Just as concepts such as the "Network PC" and the "Multimedia PC" which defined profiles of device capability were swept away in the onrush of technology, so will an attempt to divide devices, users and content into two groups
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Old 07-12-2005, 08:55 AM   #8
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But there's one really big winner in all this...Mobipocket!

If I were them, I'd be jumping up and down in glee because it instantly makes them appear to be the "official" mobile reader of .mobi web content! They might want to even create an online browser now to take further advantage.
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