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Reflecting back to 2009 – dotMobi, ICANN 36, Korea DMZ

Wow it’s hard to believe we shot this video EIGHT years ago this week inside the DMZ looking over to the border with North Korea, while attending the ICANN 36 meeting.

Not sure if the same would be attempted today, or if one could now even venture to where we stood.

Some things have remained the same. Dr. Evil is still in control over there.

Other things have changed.

Most, if not all of my former colleagues and the original folks at .mobi have moved on, professionally.

At the time of launch in 2006, and in late 2009 when this video was shot, a ton of web content looked like crap on mobile devices. Even on the iPhone—at least at first.

It was envisioned that content hosted on a mobile TLD (.mobi) web address would indicate that such content was utilizing W3C approved best practices to ensure a good user experience on mobile web-enabled devices, regardless of the handset or the network operator being used.

There was considerable effort to launch a solution featuring the .mobi TLD.  The TLD was originally financially backed by Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung, Ericsson, Vodafone, T-Mobile, Telefónica Móviles, Telecom Italia Mobile, Orascom Telecom, GSM Association, Hutchison Whampoa, Syniverse Technologies, and Visa.

We all were wowed in 2007 when Steve Jobs pinched and zoomed in on the front page of the New York Times when first introducing the original iPhone.  A .mobi “button” seemed to be on the horizon.

Nope. That didn’t happen.

That kind of lousy user experience didn’t last long—and unfortunately long term demand for .mobi web addresses waned as mobile content delivering technology progressed. Content adaptation, device detection software, mobile-publishing tools and other resources are now readily available to publishers/developers.

As a result, even though there’s plenty of content that looks great on your phone or tablet today, there’s still a lot of content hosted on .com or other TLDs that still presents a lousy experience on a mobile device.

I’m continually amazed that businesses spending money on custom web sites do not pay attention to the fact that probably most of their online traffic is coming to them via a mobile device. If your site looks and works like crap on a mobile device you are going to lose business.

But that’s not a TLD problem. It’s a technology utilization and best practice problem.

DotMobi registrations peaked at a bit over 1 million registrations a few years ago. Today, although in a rather steep decline, the TLD remains with 500K registrations.

Technology disrupts. Especially in mobile. Stuff happens.

I would not trade the experience gained and the friendships made for anything.

Mobile rules the Internet today.