March 19, 2010

SmartPhones and .Mobi


Hostway Team

By Monique Martin

If you have a Web site and are thinking about offering a mobile-optimized version, first, good for you and second, you’ve got a decision to make. To .mobi or not to .mobi? That is the question. And, it’s an interesting one.

In 2006, .mobi, sometimes called dotmobi, was introduced as a TLD (Top Level Domain) and touted as the industry standard for mobile-optimized Web sites. But, in an industry where things move faster than the speed of light, it didn’t take long for other technical solutions for the Mobile Web to appear. From iPhone innovations and mini-browsers to services that can convert your existing Web site into a mobile-optimized site and host it on a subdomain, there are options to using a traditional .mobi domain.

It’s not exactly a format war on the same level as the VHS vs Betamax battle of the early 1970’s or the more recent Blu-Ray vs HD DVD skirmish, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. .mobi certainly has some heavy hitters behind it. Nokia, Microsoft and Google are just some of the Internet giants who support .mobi. Having the backing of some of the biggest players in the game isn’t necessarily a guarantee for success, but it sure doesn’t hurt.

Getting a .mobi domain isn’t as important as it once was. It’s certainly not a requirement for having a great mobile site. But for now, using a .mobi domain still has an advantage over the other Mobile Web solutions. From a user’s point of view, if it ends in .mobi they know the Web site will work on their phone. It takes the guesswork out of mobile surfing and keeps users from having to cram even more addresses into their already over-stuffed brain. That may seem like a small thing, and, it’s more perception than reality, but your business needs every edge it can get. .mobi gives you clear branding and gives your users confidence in the accessibility of your site.

There’s no right or wrong answer to the original question. Whether you choose a .mobi site or another solution, the key to your business’ success is to get into the game. With over 60 million mobile Web users in the US alone, you can’t afford to sit this one out.

About the Author

Monique Martin served as Chief Operating Officer for a successful online insurance marketing firm for five years.

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