I’ve been meaning to write something about the .mobi domain name for quite some time. Andrew over at the Web Publishing Blog beat me to it, but I’m not one to be taken aback by things like that. So .mobi is one of those fairly new domain names, meant for the mobile web of course.
It’s also stupid.
First things first. Four letter names suck. Sure, they spell out what it is, just like .com and .biz does, but do I want to have my users hammer out more letters on their mobile phones than is absolutely necessary?
No, of course not. A mobile top level domain name should be two letters, failing that (with the national codes and everything), three. What’s wrong with .mob? Too many mafia jokes, is that what the ICANN (or whoever it was who cracked this idea) is afraid of? In that case, take a lesson from Nintendo – if they can name a videogame system Wii, then .mob is not a problem.
That aside, .mobi is still stupid. Why would I want a separate domain name for my mobile site in the first place, especially today when your .com name is part of the brand? Detect what device the visitor is using, and then deal with it, good people! It’s not hard, it’s even already used. Point your phone to Gmail or Facebook and you’ll see.
Finally, I’d say .mobi is way too late. It might have been something worth considering back in the day when WAP were to change the way we used our mobile phones, surfing the web and taking names, or whatever. Today, the differences between the various devices are blurry at best. I’ve got Opera Mini on my Sony Ericsson mobile phone, and it displays traditional websites with overviews, handling the problem with the small screen that way. I can even get Opera for my Nintendo DS, and other devices are handling these things as well.
So no, don’t get .mobi for your blog. Don’t bother with it at all, unless you’re extremely afraid that someone will steal your brand name (in case you can always mess with them, if it is your brand that is). Until the people, the actual users, expect a .mobi for websites, this is just money thrown away.
And some money. You can get a .com for $6/year, or whatever, but a .mobi can cost $24/year. No fun at all, if you have 35 domain names and intend to complement each one with a .mobi.
Don’t .mobi your blog. Find a way to deal with mobile users instead. And if you do – other than the famous Alex King plugin – do tell how. This is something blogs are still lacking, mobile support, and something that I hope will evolve in the future.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.