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The Great White Domain

8:00 AM -- A press release hit the wires today informing us that dotMobi -- a Dublin-based company with the unwieldy official title of mTLD Top Level Domain Ltd. -- will begin registering trademark names with the suffix .mobi, a new Internet domain created for Websites designed for mobile phones. Approved by ICANN in July 2005, the new addresses will be available through 16 of the top 20 domain-name registrars.

Now, this is a fine idea as far as it goes, giving users and search engines a way to immediately identify sites specifically designed for small screens and mobile environments. But .mobi? It sounds like a miniature white whale, or a domain for intriguing geometrical puzzles.

The choice is particularly puzzling when you consider that there's a perfectly suitable three-letter suffix available. It's .mob.

Okay, Mario Puzo afficionados and fans of "The Sopranos" might have other connotations than mobility for .mob. But, c'mon, .com didn't get rejected because of some people might think it's a Commie plot, did it? [Ed. note: And it was!]

Oh, did you hear about the new Web domain for minor Nigerian royalty trying to liberate their bank funds? It's called .con.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

AllKindsOfThings 12/5/2012 | 3:52:45 AM
re: The Great White Domain The abbreviation was obviously not chosen for easy mobile typing, nor to have three letters.
Type assistants todays allow flexible setup of additional vocabulary and it can be assumed that its mobile phone investors will see to it that the strings realted are part of device embedded vocabulary in no time.

The name was clearly chosen to sound well in many global markets and foremost to REALLY simple to remember for people like you and me.

Also it conveys a strong connotation of mobility, which is good when aiming at definig the key entry point of a branded internet site that gracefully handles mobile use.

Which, alas, still only exists for a minuscle part of all sites on the web, and even if the technology was there for five years, the W3C engineers did obviously not achieve to bring device awareness forward in a reasonable way.

People still mostly design towards desktop users, with "street html" and ignoring most fetures that could gets them even close to a bearable mobile experience.

And where people actually DID spend an hour or two to consider mobile use, each site uses a different navigation structure, third level site name or subdirectory to flag this to the audience.

As dotMobi is a domain name where the meaning was defined before it was kicked off even my grandma immediately understands what it stands for, which can be rarely said about things in the internet.

Considering that mobile internet connections outpace wireline internet connection growth by factor four or so site owners might find it increasingly urgent to have a clear message to their readers for mobile awareness without diluting their brand value.
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