.mobi Registration Begins

Domain promises to steer mobile-optimized content to wireless devices.
Registration has started for dotMobi, an Internet address created just for mobile phones and smartphones. The aim of .mobi is to lead users to Web sites optimized for these devices, just like .com leads traditional Web pages to browsers on PCs.

Today through May 29, trademark holders can register their names as a .mobi mobile domain. From June 12th through August 28th, they can register their trademarks as .mobi names before the process is opened up to others.

dotMobi is the informal name for mobile Top Level Domain Ltd (mTLD), the consortium charged with managing .mobi. "The launch of this unique mobile domain is moving ahead at full speed and on schedule," said dotMobi CEO Neil Edwards. "It is with great enthusiasm that we congratulate our supporters, registrars, registrants and mobile users. We are confident that dotMobi will revolutionize the optimized mobile Internet and positively impact consumers in the mobile community. We're all working together to make history, one .mobi domain name at a time."

"Companies need to act quickly to ensure they protect their brands and existing online presence from potential threats," said Jonathan Robinson, coo of domain registrar NetNames to The Register. "The new .mobi domain will help make mobile internet addresses easier to market and remember and increase the volume of consumers surfing the web on the move."

Pushed by a number of big names in the high-tech industry - including Microsoft, Nokia, Vodafone and Samsung Electronics - .mobi won approval from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) last July.

Nokia first proposed a domain extension for mobile devices back in 2000, but ICANN rejected it because of the lack of technical details in the application. The phone maker persevered, garnering industry support, and re-submitted it as .mobi in March 2004.

.mobi has met with criticism, including from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the group's director. They would prefer to have Web sites recognize when a mobile device access them, only sending pages that are optimized for handhelds to them, basically maintaining .com for all types of Web content. Whereas .mobi works by creating two Internets in their opinion: one for mobile devices and one for desktops.

This article was first published on PDAStreet.com.

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