The “hot” topic of the website development industry right now is the mobile web. Last week Google announced that they would be releasing a mobile operating system, Android. Adwords advertisers noticed this timed nicely with Google’s expiration of free mobile advertising.
Weeks earlier, a TRAFFIC domain name auction set records with .mobi domain names climbing into the six figures. However, controversy quickly followed with personal accusations flying within the domain name community.
From a web site owner’s perspective — mobile web site access is important. Conversion and revenue numbers aside, millions of people do and will continue to access the internet through their personal mobile phones years into the future. However, this alone is hardly a case for investing money in a new domain name extension.
#1 Web sites can automatically detect what platform a visitor is accessing the site through. Go to facebook.com on your phone, you end up at m.facebook.com. Its hassle-free to the end user.
#2 Big brands do not need to spend money or dilute their dot com/net/org/edu by promoting, and explaining their .mobi. Just like a social networking site, domain name extensions become successful when lots of people use them and recognize them. There is a local restaurant that uses .ws, everyone asks what it is — they do not even know its a web site address.
#3 The distinction between mobile browsing and desktop browsing has already blurred. My smart phone has a fully functional web browser, and runs both Opera Mobile and Internet Explorer. The iPhone’s web browser is an excellent example of this (YouTube video.) Additional advancements in Ultra-Mobile Computing (UMPC, for short) make the desktop experience truly portable. In the long term, users will not settle for crippled internet access.
Those pushing the pro’s of the .mobi point out that some big companies are buying and promoting the extension. Domainers today are hoping to bank on the same corporate spending wave that left them with understood and recognizable dot coms after the late 90’s tech bubble deflated.
If the corporate world catches on, and you see .mobi domain names being promoted everywhere offline and on, it might be worth catching a ride. Sure you’ll end up paying a premium, but in this business time is often far more valuable than money.