Carl Weinschenk spoke with Neil Edwards, CEO of dotMobi. Last month, the first top-line domain aimed exclusively at mobile devices launched.
Weinschenk: What impact do you think .mobi will have on mobile workforces?
Edwards: Mobile workforces will find accessing information easy when they use .mobi sites. For example, imagine that you're a salesman trying to find your way to a meeting; you could access "maps.mobi" and quickly locate the directions you need without the superfluous information that might come from a .com site. Or before leaving a meeting, you could check "traffic.mobi" to see if there are any issues on the road back to the office or "storm.mobi" to make sure there's no rain expected. Because .mobi sites will be optimized for mobile phones, you get the information quickly - and cheaply, too - because the sites aren't overburdened with graphics that might be helpful on a PC but are costly to download on a mobile phone because of their size. And even then, those graphics probably don't display correctly on a mobile phone.
Weinschenk: What, if anything, should IT departments be aware of as .mobi begins to penetrate the marketplace? For instance, could it make mobile applications or connectivity more efficient?
Edwards: While following the recommendations of the dotMobi Switch On! style guides will help make mobile applications more efficient, the real boon will be to businesses looking for new and more simple ways to reach consumers. There are four mobile devices sold for every one PC sold. That makes for a huge untapped market. Now, a consumer simply needs to remember "yourname.mobi" for a good online experience via a mobile device. And that good experience not only enhances the company's brand, it will help increase the "stickiness" of a company's .mobi site. IT departments will quickly embrace the dotMobi guidelines like XHTML programming, second-level domains only (no "www"), no frames, pop-ups or auto-refresh. The guidelines are simple and are practices that many mobile developers are following now.
Weinschenk: The press release seemed to focus on mobile phones. There are a lot of mobile devices out there, however. Is there a different timeline for different classes of devices? What complexities are added by the fact that there are a lot of form factors in the mobile space?
Edwards: While phones are the most common mobile device, the open standards that are enforced for .mobi domains (via our SwitchOn! guides) are suitable for all mobile devices - from the Treo phone to Windows Mobile-powered devices. In fact, Microsoft is one of dotMobi's 13 investor companies, and their interest in mobile devices goes far beyond phones. dotMobi fixes the issues that come with trying to make content designed for a 17-inch computer screen fit into a 2-inch by 2-inch space - and to curtail the cost of data downloads for art and graphics that generally do not display as intended on a mobile devices. dotMobi ensures that the user experience of the Web on a mobile device is as good as possible. Unlike other top-level domains, our Switch On! style guides act as a reference for content providers when building their sites. These style guides are composed of mandatory rules and recommended best practices. Compliance with mandatory rules is one of the terms and conditions of using a dotMobi domain. That means .mobi - as a domain - can ensure that all sites behave as they should and fulfill customers' trust in .mobi sites or the domains will be shut down. No other TLD has that control in ensuring the end user's experience will be an appropriate one.