Top Level Domain . mobi is open now
Giants promote mobile web standards


IT Week Interview: Neil Edwards of mTLD explains how specifications for mobile content are advancing.

.mobi – the domain for mobile content

Top Level Domain . mobi is open now

IT Week: As general manager of .mobi domain registry mTLD, can you explain how you are promoting the mobile web?

Neil Edwards: The .mobi initiative is about four years old, and was founded by a content provider, a mobile operator and a handset manufacturer, [in response to concerns that] no one was consuming [content via mobile phones]. The consortium said we needed something open, built on standards and which would work across all phone platforms so a new name associated with the mobile [web] was created, with three categories of investor: mobile operators, internet providers and handset manufacturers.

Will this initiative have enough credibility to make the mobile web work?
Yes. Firstly there are a set of standards [we are producing] which will guarantee to the consumer that it will work. Also, the mobile constituency behind it is a powerhouse of companies theyre not going to let .com become the standard on the phone.

Are you working closely with web standard body W3Cs Mobile Web Initiative [MWI]?
The firms driving a lot of the initiatives are investors in .mobi. The MWI working group paper is a body of knowledge without direction, it doesnt cover the how, why and when [of the mobile web]. We have our own working group as a subset of the W3C and we have quantified a lot of our work into standards, and best practices.

mobile web future

Top Level Domain . mobi is open now

What issues will you be tackling in the future?
Web browsing is not the only problem there is content rating, digital rights management, federated ID, communications protocols. All of these things will be rolling out in the next year to year-and-a-half.

Won’t use of the mobile internet remain low if prices for viewing content remain high?
Our new standards around browsing will mean that the content providers should only put pertinent data [onto the mobile web]. This means thin sets of data, not rich content, which is not suited to the mobile domain. If you try to pull down a sophisticated content-rich site on your mobile it will probably take a long time to download and cost [a great deal].

So do you forsee a walled garden future for the mobile web, or would you like to see a diversity of sites as with the fixed web?
The .mobi scheme is all about giving operators the confidence so that when they want to open up the walled garden, it works.

How can firms register for .mobi?
The period [for trademark holders to register related sites] will begin on 22 May and last until late August. The first week of this period the Limited Industry Sunrise is devoted to members of the mobile community such as mobile operators. We expect most of the top mobile brands and big-name companies to register during this time. Those wishing to apply in the sunrise period will need to go in person to a registrar, where they will be asked to produce their supporting trademark identification information.