The context around .MOBI
Currently, few Web pages are designed to be accessed via mobile devices. Many sites can't be displayed on tiny cell phone screens, and most take a much longer time to download than on a PC (this is due to packet latency which is much higher on cellular vs. copper). Mobile Top Level Domain headquartered in Ireland aims to change that in part by setting up a new domain name specifically for wireless Internet Web sites called .MOBI.
Just as dot-com is the domain name for many Web pages on the wired Internet, .MOBI will become the suffix for Web pages that are formatted for cellphones and other wireless devices. Essentially this becomes a new partition of the Internet designed specifically for mobile devices.
The design goal of the Mobile Top Level Domain is simple. They want web developers to follow a set of rules designed to make surfing easier on mobile devices. For instance one rule would require a .MOBI site not to use popup windows for advertising or allow other windows to appear. Another rule would be to ensure that web pages are formatted “single column” vs. the current multi column format and at the same time reduce the amount of content to a more manageable portion to ease the download time.
Why the web works – it’s all about 4 simple rules
- The Web is simple
- The Web is flexible and forgiving (The browser ignores things that it doesn’t understand).
- The Web is heterogeneous, which means it works on all platforms (Not just Windows)
- The Web is loosely coupled. Most previous computing architectures required tight integration between the “server” program that stores the data and the “Client” program which manipulates it. In contrast there is no need to upgrade the Web browser every time a Web publisher changes a site. Server and Client are loosely coupled.
Item 4 is the crux of the issue. By partitioning the HTTP information space into parts, one designed for access from mobile devices AND the other part designed for different devices, an essential property of the Web is destroyed. Instead of a loosely coupled infrastructure you’ve now created a tightly integrated structure between the client (mobile device) and the server.
Netcraft indicates that in May there were 81,565,877 sites on the Internet. Think of this as “the long tail” vs. the few high end portal sites like Yahoo, Google, MSN, AOL which can afford the new .MOBI extension fee $$$. These 81 million sites represent the “rest of the Internet”. So far this year over 7 million new sites have been added which projected out through the end of the year is close to 17 million new sites. It is extremely unlikely that these sites will adopt a .MOBI extension for their mobile content, instead they will simply build their own mobile content which aligns with item 4 above.
Over time new server and client software will emerge that makes the Internet “Mobile Aware” without breaking the current loosely coupled architecture, this will render the .MOBI extension a moot point.