|Posted by:||Joey deVilla on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 03:11 PM EDT|
|Filed under:||Joey deVilla, Domain Names, Business Technology|
|Keywords:||mobi, mobile, domains|
.mobi, the top-level domain specifically for sites whose content is specifically geared towards mobile devices, is one of the newest TLD offerings from Tucows. In this article, I'll provide a brief overview of the .mobi domain name and link to useful information sources for people who want to buy or sell .mobi domains and developers who want to build sites for them.
What is .mobi?
.mobi is an ICANN-approved sponsored TLD, whose sponsors are a consortium of companies that includes big players in the software, internet and mobile device fields. Among them are Google, Microsoft, Vodafone, Samsung, Ericsson and Nokia.
This domain is specifically for mobile devices -- things like mobile phones, personal digital assistants and other handheld devices capable of accessing the internet. A .mobi site should adhere to a set of guidelines for ensuring compatibility with mobile devices; these guidelines include the W3C's Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 document and the .mobi Switch On! guides, which are derived from the W3C document. Adherence is currently enforced through a "challenge process".
Consider the mobile device market:
- At 2.2 billion units, mobile phones outnumber personal computers by a factor of two to one.
- Think that last stat was impressive? Mobile phone sell faster than computers by a factor of four to one.
- Think that web access via the phone is for future phones only? Think again: 70% of mobile phones -- that's over 1.5 billion devices -- worldwide are already configured for 'net access.
Mobile phones seem to be everywhere. I'm quite certain that I see at least three advertisements for mobile phones or mobile providers, both on American and Canadian television, and during a recent stroll through downtown Belfast, it seemed as though there was a mobile phone store on every block. Go to any busy part of a city -- a popular square, the financial district, shopping malls -- and you'll see mobile phones of all shapes and sizes, from the flip-top handheld to the bluetooth earpiece to the haute couture Dolce and Gabbana phone Among my circle of friends -- and yes, most of them aren't programmers or techies -- not having a mobile phone is the exception rather than the rule.
Simply put: the potential user base for .mobi domain names -- on the order of a billion people or so worldwide -- is already in place.
When are .mobi Names Available?
Tucows domain partners who've signed up to sell .mobi names can do so either via the Reseller Web Interface (RWI) or programmatically via the API, and everyone can buy a .mobi domain through participating Tucows partners.
Here's what's been going on: the "sunrise" period, during which time .mobi domains could be claimed by trademark holders only ended on September 22nd at 13:59 UTC (9:59 a.m. Eastern / 6:59 a.m. Pacific).
We're now in the "landrush" period, which began only hours ago (today being September 26th) at 14:00 UTC (10:00 a.m. Eastern / 7:00 a.m. Pacific) and runs until October 10th at 13:59 UTC (9:59 a.m. Eastern / 6:59 a.m. Pacific). During this time, .mobi domains will be available to the general public at a higher price. The upside to paying a higher price for a .mobi domain name is that you stand a better chance of getting the one you want, rather than waiting for the next period, called the "general availability" period.
The general availability period starts on October 11th at 14:00 UTC (10:00 a.m. Eastern / 7:00 a.m. Pacific), at which time .mobi domains will be available at the standard price.
Where Can I Find Out More?
Here are some useful .mobi resources:
- .mobi Page on the Tucows Reseller Resource Center: Information for our partners about .mobi domains. Restricted to Tucows partners; login in required.
- The .mobi site: The official site of the .mobi registry.
- .mobi "Switch On!" Web Developer Guide: The authoritative source for rules about content on a .mobi domain, listing best practices for web site design for use on mobile devices.
- .mobi "Switch On!" Email Guide: The authoritative source for rules about email services associated with a .mobi domain, listing best practices for email service design for use on mobile devices.
- W3C Mobile Best Practices 1.0: The document from which .mobi's "Switch On!" guides are derived.
- W3C Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group Blog
- .mobi Validator: A web application that which checks your webpages for compliance with the .Mobi mandatory style guide rules (i.e. the "Switch On!" Guide).
- .mobi Mobile Emulator: A page featuring a Java-based emulator that allows you to view web pages as they would be seen on mobile phones. This site currently emulates a Nokia N70 and Sony Ericsson K750.
- .mobi XHTML template: An XHTML template provided by .mobi that can serve as a starting point for your .mobi site designs.
- Wikipedia's entry on .mobi
- This site (soon). We'll be providing all sorts of articles on mobile development in the near future.