I have been reading the comments concerning the
proposal of the .mobi TLD. Being a Service Provider for mobile services and
applications, I'd like to contribute with my own perspective.
I will not discuss about the risks of monopoly,
walled gardens and others that people have pointed out. I accept there are
points that should be subject to ICANN's analysis. However, it also seems that
the discussion is largely biased by these risks. If we are going to look at all
the possible disadvantages it is only fair that we also take a look at the
possible advantages. The internet itself is full of weaknesses and risks. Take
the spamming, viruses and similar plagues. Should we dismantle the internet
then? Of course not. Why not? Because we all know there are a lot more upsides
So, what has the Mobile Service Provider to benefit
from the creation of .mobi? I have listed a few advantages:
1. Unique mobile internet addresses
Once we have the possibility of having a unique
mobile internet address, we can start using better methods of data communication
between the mobile users and any central service or application. Let
me give an example. Because in GPRS IPs are given dinamically to the mobile
terminal, today, it is hard to use it to send data from a central computer to a
GPRS terminal (no problem the other way around, of course). What is usually done
instead is to send an SMS to the terminal (because the MSISDN is fixed, thank
God) and request the terminal to connect over GPRS with the central computer
(which has a fixed IP). This is not very efficient, of course, and in the end
the user will spend more money (1 extra SMS).
With unique mobile internet addresses, this problem
would be solved.
2. Security and control
The same is valid for the validation of
subscriptions, for access control, downloading applications, etc. Today we have
to rely on username and password. The MSISDN is unique, but cannot be used as
data in, say, web communications. Only if we use SMS. Ironic. Our applications
progressed from SMS to GPRS but we lost security features...
3. Common layout guidelines for .mobi
I have a Phone PDA and a Communicator. They both
promise web access. But the experience is not what I had wished for. Only a few
pages were really tailored to be used by PDA's, Communicators or Smartphones.
Even getting there is not easy. Chances are you will click a link that gives you
a regular web page (made for PCs). Its is slow, boring.
4. Locating pages for mobile devices
My company also has some web and wap pages thought
for PDAs and phones. But, unless I tell you what the full URL is, how do you
know? Is it www.myCompany.com/wap? Is
it wap.myCompany.com? Is it something else? Imagine that you are looking for it
using your PDA. My guess is you would give up in no time. Now, if the .mobi TLD
existed, you would try myCompany.mobi at once. And I promise you that we would
make sure to have myCompany.mobi ready to receive you and other visitors. This
is no minor issue, I think, when it comes to promoting and fostering the mobile
It is true that we could go on using .com TLD
instead of creating a specific TLD for mobile services and applications. But it
is not working, is it? There is no driving or compelling force that makes every
mobile service provider to use the same nomenclatures and every mobile user to
search the same way. The .mobi TLD can be that driving force.
There are many more advantages to this initiative,
when it comes to mobile service providers, but I stop here. In the end, the pros
will have to be compared with the cons.