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.

Consider this:

#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.

6 thoughts on “.mobi domain extension — flop or must buy?

  1. I would tend to agree that a .mobi domain is very limiting. Most sites are already able to accommodate for mobile traffic so having a separate domain would be unnecessary.

    However, I could see how it would be possible for early domainers who don’t have the .com but want to capitalize on at least .mobi version for the most profitable keywords.

  2. Flop – other than .com and a very few cctld’s and some select .nets, I see zero value in these kind of names. If there was a market where I could short them, I would.

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  6. I guess the big question here is this, does google recognise the platform that generates a search query? If so will it prioritise .mobi over .com in mobile platform search rankings?

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