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.Mobi Could Spur Wireless Web 211

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Microsoft, Google, Vodafone, Nokia and several other companies are backing .mobi, a new top-level domain aimed at making it easier to browse the Web on mobile devices, such as cellphones and PDAs, the Wall Street Journal reports. On Monday, Mobile Top Level Domain opened registration. 'In a matter of hours, thousands of websites were signed up, including Yahoo.mobi and Hotjobs.mobi. For now, registration for dot-mobi Web sites is open only to members of wireless industry trade associations, which include wireless carriers, handset manufacturers and media companies, including Yahoo Inc., that want to make money from providing content to the wireless Web.' Registrants have to follow certain rules to get the domain, including that sites cannot 'cause pop-ups or other windows to appear.'"
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.Mobi Could Spur Wireless Web

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  • Odd length (Score:5, Interesting)

    by adamwright ( 536224 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @10:47AM (#15387476) Homepage
    Given the generally awful text input systems on mobile devices, why create a TLD that is four characters long? It's still easier to type .com!
    • or

      .mob

      --i hope the mafia don't get mad
    • Re:Odd length (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rtconner ( 544309 )
      If it becomes popular enough I'm sure most devices would only make you type in "yahoo" and then default to yahoo.mobi.

      Anyways, I can easily see myself using these .mobi sites for regular surfing on my PC. They are a lot simpler and with no popups, minimal ads, etc.. these pages will be wonderful to view. Never again would I have to face the huge clutter of yahoo's current home page.
      • Yup. My Nokia 770 has an option to configure default TLDs...
      • Never again would I have to face the huge clutter of yahoo's current home page.

        Yeah, right. Be sure that they will redirect you to "huge clutter" faster than you can say "HTTP_USER_AGENT".
    • That's what I thought...

      A quick test shows that it takes 9 keypresses and one pause in order to type "mobi" on my phone, whereas "com" is 7 + 1 pause and "net" is only 5 (no pause).
      Further, the Opera browser on my phone has a pop-up list of TLDs for quick entry and .mobi is not on there either...

      Somehow I doubt this will take off...
    • I think .m would be a better choice, only one keypress.
    • Re:Odd length (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @11:03AM (#15387615)
      Given the generally awful text input systems on mobile devices, why create a TLD that is four characters long? It's still easier to type .com!

      All this new TLD stuff is stupid. The only decent proposal that they won't adopt is .XXX.

      Why do we need yet another TLD that needs to be registered and maintained when we can today go to mobi.slashdot.org and get a slightly different page? Why can't we just use CSS's @media handheld?

      This is a poor solution to a nonexistent problem.

      • This is a poor solution to a nonexistent problem.

        Actually, it's a great solution to real problem. Just not the problem that you might think about... ;)

        The problem: how to get existing companies to pay us more and more for the same old stuff (i.e. 'net presence).

        The solution: let's create new TLDs every now and then, those poor shmocks won't have any choice, they're going to have to buy all those domains again, otherwise e.g. Coca-Cola might find advertisement of Pepsi on cocacola.mobi (.eu etc).

        Great busine
      • It seems like every year or so, some tech journalist thinks he's a genius by writing about the "next generation in e-commerce: new top level domains". Much like thin clients, these new domains will generate little interest outside of a small group and will make no noticeable impact in the grand scheme of things. They're just something for tech writers to write about. Most sites would rather have a .com and redirect mobile browsers to a special version of the site. Hopefully this stupidity dies down soon.
      • The mobi tld makes a lot of sense. I have been waiting a long time for a standardized method for accessing sites from portable devices.

        Why do we need yet another TLD that needs to be registered and maintained when we can today go to mobi.slashdot.org and get a slightly different page?

        Because nobody will do it, if it is simply some voluntary suggestion to use a subdomain standard. There would also be no way to enforce standards [mtld.mobi] on a subdomain.

        • What we really need is not .mobi, but something like .wst - sites that adhere to Web STandards.

          We don't need a special TLD for mobile devices. The problem with accessing sites with mobile devices is largely down to the failure to follow web standards. Valid HTML 4.01 + CSS (or XHTML + CSS) already makes good provision for rendering content on a variety of different devices. But very few sites use it.

          If a .wst domain was set up where adherence to Web Standards was mandatory, it would benefit all web users, n

      • What does http://www.google.mobi/ [google.mobi] get you?

        Why, it's a redirect to:

        http://www.google.com/mobile/ [google.com]

        BRILLIANT!

        Meh.
    • by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @11:07AM (#15387657)
      Given the generally awful text input systems on mobile devices, why create a TLD that is four characters long? It's still easier to type .com!

      What should they call it? "mob"? The top-level domain for all organised crime organisations in need of a site.
      • Actually, if we are talking about cellular phones, putting it all in the ".mob" TLD wouldn't be such a bad idea. Most people pick and use their cellphones without much independent thought, anyway, more of a mob mentality.
      • I *really* want to register starbuck.mobi and wait for the domain name squatting suits to begin from the coffee company that is squatting on the domain name of a literary character.

        We could also have ahab.mobi, ishmael.mobi, and so forth...

        We could offer ringtones of narrated portions of the Melville novel....
        • by Y2 ( 733949 )
          We could also have ahab.mobi, ishmael.mobi, and so forth...

          A whole new interpretation of the phrase "Call me, Ishmael!"

    • Moolah (Score:5, Funny)

      by brjndr ( 313083 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @11:29AM (#15387822)
      Are you kidding? It's a conspiracy!! That 4th character is more data the mobile carriers can charge for using! If it were up to them the TLD would be .mobilenowonderwechargesomuchforunlimitedrateplans whydidntwethinkofthisearlier.
    • Beyond the .com, .org, .net and .edu TLDs, and possibly the CC-TLDs, I have probably used the new TLDs about less than 0.5% of the time. All the other, while being cute and all don't seem to have the same popularity and people still clamour for one of the orginal three. No sane company uses .biz, the .info is usually the last place I look for an information site. For example I know that Montreal's (QC, Canada) transport service uses a .info domain, but I would have more expected to be under the .qc.ca domai
    • Especially considering that M and O are on the same key on phones without QWERTY keyboards. Typing mobi requires 5 keystrokes, or 4 and a pause.
    • And not only that, it's not even convenient to type on a cell phone numpad: m (5), o (6-6-6), b (2-2), i (4-4-4).

      While understandably inappropriate, at least 'wap' was easy to type (9-2-7).

    • M and O are both on the 6 key. This means that the user has to hit the key once to enter M, then wait or press some other key, before they can press 6 three times more to get the O.

      This is already a problem with all .com addresses. Which idiot thought it would be a good idea to make the same mistake again?
    • I wanted to do a .pad domain as pad is descriptive and easy to enter on a phone. To bad it takes so much money to start a tld. My company, apt.pad, was set to deliver software to make using the web from phones better. Or so was the dream. ;)

      Really, I think the thing to do is to give website's phone numbers as an option. It's a pain to remember them but it's easier than typing in a long url on a keypad. You can use all the tricks to make using phone numbers easier that cell phones already offer. It'd be espe
    • And why not simply ".m"?

      Off topic, but when SMSing is there any way to say 'yes I accept the bloody letter you're showing me, now let me pick another on the same button' or do I have to wait for the cursor? I've read manuals, searched the web, pulled my hair out but all to no avail.

      Example: I want to type 'action'. Press 2 for A then wait, wait, wait until I can press 2 again (twice) for C. What I want is 2 for A then (something which accepts it) then 2 twice for C.
  • by GundamFan ( 848341 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @10:49AM (#15387489)
    That's the last think I need... as if talking on my cell phone wasn't bad enough while driving.
  • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @10:49AM (#15387494) Journal
    With the plethora of wireless devices now having some wireless 'web' capability, some have Java browsers, some with WAP browsers... a single .mobi TLD won't fix all the problems. The real problem is a lack of standard practices for wireless browsers. There are some sites that work well today, formatted for small screens... many don't.

    Just saying it will fix things (remember .xxx) won't fix the problems... but its a good start IMO
  • by Douglas Simmons ( 628988 ) * on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @10:51AM (#15387508) Homepage
    From the article: "Companies with trademark-validated names will be able to register in June for 70 days to avoid 'cyber-squatters' registering well-known names. Registration will be open to generic names in September."

    Could I trademark a name now and go register it?

    • I don't see why not... if you can get the trademark approved (meaning no one has rights to that domain).

      Just don't stat a busness named google.mobi and you should be fine.

    • Even more important, how exactly are they going to fot 70 days into June?
  • intranet (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tverbeek ( 457094 )
    If the server and client side are both by-invitation-only, isn't this little more than a multi-vendor closed system, rather than an actual part of the internet?
  • Better Solution... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meatflower ( 830472 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @10:55AM (#15387546)
    As has been said it was stupid to make a four letter TLD for a mobil device. The smartest thing to have done would be to make it something easy to type out on a phone keypad. Something like .adg (just hit 1,2,3) or .ptw (7,8,9). Sure they're not catchy but they would be very quick to type out on a cell phone.
  • I thought this was taken care of with sites like Google for Mobiles. [google.com] But interesting none the less.
  • Neat! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jonboy X ( 319895 ) <jonathan...oexner@@@alum...wpi...edu> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @10:57AM (#15387565) Journal
    Wow, a TLD that discourages stupid ads and pop-ups and gratuitous Flash animations. Hell, what's to stop people on regular computer browsers from abandoning the old home pages for these new non-crappified sites?
    • lack of content and lots of scrolling most likely.
    • Wow, a TLD that discourages stupid ads and pop-ups and gratuitous Flash animations. Hell, what's to stop people on regular computer browsers from abandoning the old home pages for these new non-crappified sites?

      Given the quality of most web pages, I expect most *.mobi sites will enforce a 320x240 screen regardless of your browser. With lots, and lots, and lots of paging. With each page loading a new set of advertising, of course! Fonts will either be unreadably tiny (to cram a full screen's worth of

    • Re:Neat! (Score:2, Informative)

      by MS-06FZ ( 832329 )
      For starters, they'll likely look at your web browser ID string and boot you to the normal site if it's IE, Mozilla, Netscape, Opera, etc., to "enhance" your browsing experience. Sure, if you know what you're doing, you can easily spoof that - but for most people it won't be worth the hassle.

      Another thing they may do in some cases is provide a whole different site for mobile users. One example that comes to mind was a site for a company that makes PalmOS software (I don't remember which) - if you visit th
  • by Evro ( 18923 ) <evandhoffman AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @11:00AM (#15387590) Homepage Journal
    New TLDs really serve no purpose other than to enrich the organizations managing them. They don't expand the namespace in a meaningful way - even if you had the financial means to do so you couldn't register Yahoo.mobi or Yahoo.US or Yahoo.biz. So any trademarked term is already ruled out. That said, the pricing for common words is usually enormous - does anyone think they'll be able to purchase sex.mobi for the standard $9/year (or whatever it is)? So now common words are out. If you can't get common or popular words, why bother using .mobi at all when you'd have to come up with a name just as distinctive as if you'd registered a .com?

    Frankly the only reason I can see for creating new TLDs is to force trademark holders to buy their trademarked terms defensively - that's probably a guaranteed instant 100k registrations. The whole thing just seems like a scam. If they'd at least gone with ".m" rather than ".mobi" then they could play the "simpler to type" angle, but ".mobi" is even longer than .com, making it even less useful for its intended task - being used on mobile devices - than .com.
    • a massive, industry-wide kludge for targeting the devices at the presentation tier.

    • I've been (almost exclusively) doing web development for the last 8 years and doing the majority of my work for the "mobile web" over the last year, so I think I am qualified to say


      AMEN. You are 100% right. There are so many reasons why every part of this is a bad idea. Some are common "don't break the net" reasons (that apply to .xxx as well) and others are "but this is supposed to be for mobile?" reasons like the addition 3 keystrokes it will take to hit that "i" (pressing the 4 key 3 times).

      But so
  • Interestingly enough, there actually is an entry in the DNS hierarchy for mobi. However, if I'm interpreting the serial properly, it's in the future.

    mobi. 86342 IN SOA tld1.ultradns.net. info.afilias.net. 2006053119 10800 3600 2592000 86400

    DNS serial numbers are entirely a matter of semantics. The only requirement is that they increase when you change things in the zone [which is what the last two digits of their serial are for, presumably].

    I've never seen a situation such as this. Any DNS gurus want to enl
  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @11:02AM (#15387611) Homepage Journal
    Whoever came up with this should be shot. Seriously. Either use the DNS the way it is designed, or open it up and let everyone make stuff up.

    yahoo.mobi? Idiots who fell for a salesguy with even less brains, and neither of them understand what a hierarchy is supposed to be for.

    mobi.yahoo.com - now, was that so difficult? Google gets it - it's "maps.google.com" and not "google.maps". And that's exactly the way the DNS hierarchy is supposed to work - go from the most general towards the more specific. TLD: Generic type, domain name: Owner/Company, subdomain: Purpose.

    Ah well, I guess it's too late anyways. Idiots have been running ICANN for years, it was only a matter of time until they fuck up completely. I'm sure this'll go through. :(((

    • Whoever came up with this should be shot. Seriously. Either use the DNS the way it is designed, or open it up and let everyone make stuff up.

      If only I had mod points... agreed 100%

    • yahoo.mobi? Idiots who fell for a salesguy with even less brains, and neither of them understand what a hierarchy is supposed to be for.

      mobi.yahoo.com - now, was that so difficult? Google gets it - it's "maps.google.com" and not "google.maps". And that's exactly the way the DNS hierarchy is supposed to work - go from the most general towards the more specific. TLD: Generic type, domain name: Owner/Company, subdomain: Purpose.

      Agreed. This constant need to develop new TLDs is eventually going to choke

  • If they're going to break convention and not use a three letter TLD, why not avoid the eccentric abbreviation and just call it .mobile?

    This sort of crap reminds of when I read people's code and they name variables things like "condvar". Just use the real name or use a clear abbreviation. Would ".mbl" have been that freakin difficult for the average person to decipher?

    • try country codes. .nl .uk .us

      is .tv a country of the glow tube?

      How about .info?

      Sorry just because the most common domains use 3 letters doesn't mean it is a convention.

      Granted I don't get mobi either. First thought it was about motherboards. .go perhaps?

      Ah fuck it, dns is for kids anyway, real men surf by IP.

      • There is a convention. With the exception of .arpa which is used for infrastructure, there are country code TLDs and generic TLDs. Country code TLDs most often follow the two letter code assigned by the ITU. Generic TLDs, the type in question, have had three letter codes since the 80s. They added .info, .biz and others in 2001 and 2002. So just because they broke convention four years ago doesn't mean there isn't a convention.

        Anyway, we can agree to disagree. Besides, these people aren't worth the headach

  • All the service and product providers that stand to profit from spreading the web to mobile phones are supporting an idea that might help that. Well, excuse me if I don't have a stroke and shit my pants out of shock.

    Mobile Top Level Domain Chief Executive Officer Neil Edwards says...

    Executives at Mobile Top Level Domain, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, believe that...

    ...says Mr. Edwards of Mobile Top Level Domain.

    ...says Ritva Siren, an executive of Nokia in charge of domain names.

    "Step right up!" he

  • by twfry ( 266215 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @11:10AM (#15387679)
    I thought web browsers and web servers were suppose to take care of this without having a separate address.

    For example, if a cell phones does an http GET from www.cnn.com, the cell phone sends a header stating that it is a mobile device, the server then adjusts to content to make it appropiate for the cell phone. Is this right?

    Also, why the hell are they making a separate registry for this? It is just a different protocall and the internet was designed so different registries were not needed for different protocalls. Shouldn't it be:

    mobi.cnn.com

    Instead of www.cnn.mobi

    That is what is done with other protocalls such as ftp, etc. Thats why you see 'ftp.yoursite.com' instead of 'www.yoursite.ftp'. Whats next a different registry for every device/protocall combination?

    • Can someone explain why this is needed?

      No, because it's Yet Another Stupid ICANN't Proposition that almost nobody wants except for the people who'd like to sell names in that space.

      File it next to ".museum" (handy for the 50 or so people using it) and ".jobs" (for companies who don't want job seekers to look at their real website), preferably in the big circular file next to your desk. I swear, it's amazing the lengths that ICANN't will go to in order to feel relevant and useful.

  • Only thing it'll spur is another "landgrab" fiasco where thousands of cybersquatters trip over themselves in a hurry to register all .mobi domains they could think of and fill them with google ads.
  • CSS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StonedRat ( 837378 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @11:12AM (#15387694) Homepage Journal
    Isn't this what the "handheld" CSS media type is for?
  • Ok,

    Why not simply mobi.yahoo.com instead of yahoo.mobi (and a similar pattern for all other domains)???

    This is something which in my mind could easily be done with subdomains, and I see no benefit from creating another TLD.

    If the excuse is that you will type fewer characters on your mobile phone to get to these domains, it's lame, because as soon as all the short names are taken people will start registering longer names. Besides, new input devices will eventually be released for small devices, rendering th
  • by Chelloveck ( 14643 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @11:20AM (#15387749) Homepage

    Maybe .mobi could spur the wireless web... If it weren't for the fact that any content provider could already do the exact same thing today, without needing the new TLD. If they cared, which damned few seem to do. You don't need a fancy new domain to publish a clean, uncluttered, page without tons of flash and javascript. If sites wanted to do that they would. But they don't, so they won't, and a new TLD won't change that.

    Sounds like WAP re-born. No one supported that, either.

  • How about this instead.

    mobi.yourdomain.(com|net|org|co.uk|.etc...)

    And you don't have to wait!

    Oh never mind that wouldn't create another top level domain someone could make money on.
  • I knew someone would finally come up with this technological breakthrough that allows "The Mobile Web" to finally take off. Its not better screens, useable input devices, durable equipment with long battery life and low cost, cheap available bandwidth, or security end users can be confident in. No. None of these. The missing key has been the .mobi top level domain. Now, we can all get down to the business of using it and making money.

    1. Invent the internet.
    2. Create wireless Phones.
    3. Convince end users that the internet is the web
    4. Sell devices that can connect to the internet
    5. Wait around for a dozen years.
    6. Create a '.mobi' top level domain
    7. Profit!
    • "The Mobile Web" to finally take off.
      I don't want it to take off - and I doubt it will anytime soon. I'll get back to you on "why is that?" in a moment.

      Its not better screens
      Define better?
      A lot of the screens on current cellphones are color - be it 4096 colors, of 16bit color - how many more colors do you need to enjoy the web? Now if you were editing a 4k film plate on your mobile version of Shake.. okay.
      Do you mean size, then? Well, get a PDA instead. But wait, then you have a big device, instead of t
  • Microsoft, Google, Vodafone, Nokia and several other companies are backing .mobi, a new top-level domain aimed at making it easier to browse the Web on mobile devices, such as cellphones and PDAs

    I don't want to browse any webpage with my cellphone!

    I use my cellphone for sending SMS [gasp] and as a mobile telephone [double gasp]!
    I don't want to use my mobile phone as mp3 player, or movie station.....

    Don't act surprised if your .mobi-world won't take of.

  • Why create new sub-web when it already starts becoming obsolete?

    Look at mobile web browsers like Opera/Opera Mini - you can access most dotcoms from it today. Minimo is coming. Nokias WebKit is coming. Adobe/Macromedia is working on mobile version of Flash.

    Soon after all registrars earn their money, .mobi will be useless (everyone will pay their mobi-tax and point domain to .com version with handheld stylesheets).

  • Well I hate to break it to all you negative thinkers out there but dotMOBI has taken off exceptionaly well. There were no major issues with the launch. Also note that there are more than 40 registrars already and that is only with sunrise on the go. When the puplic landrush begins you better hope you get your domain name fast or it will be gone. To bad all you people slandering this TLD don't have a clue which direction IT is going or you would think this is a wonderfull start.

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