Friday, October 22, 2010

RIP Dot Mobi -and why four letter domain names don't work

I first wrote about the battle between the dot mobi (mTLD) standard and the standard back in January 2008, suggesting that:

" is struggling to communicate its added value, namely that it has defined (and offers as a framework) a set of development standards to improve the user experience of web on mobile"

Well, today I think we can safely conclude that has failed in its mission to create value from its proposition as most of the mobile sector brushes aside any notion it may have had about creating a site and opts for the safe option (such as

Numbers coming through from the dot mobi consortium, suggest they made of loss of €3.5m in the last full financial year (2010) and the situation is likely to get worse.

As The Register reported in June this year:

The problem is that not many companies bother (with dot mobi) these days: even Google, which helped create the domain, now redirects “” to a page telling users to go to “” instead. That lack of interest leaves dotMobi with a lot of virtual real estate to shift. 

So, farewell dot mobi-may you rest in peace. To those who invested in the four letter dot mobi domain name, you had good intentions, but when you buy on the hype, be prepared for a sharp fall. And as URL shortening companies like have shown, every character counts. Frankly, a four character domain seeemed like an overkill from the start. The 'm' has won.


Vance Hedderel, from dotmobi, sent me a response to the blog post that I publish below:

"As a side note to dotMobi's recently recently report of mobile Web trends, which you can find at, we found that leading brands have taken dotMobi’s advice to use multiple entry points to label mobile-friendly content. That means leading brands currently use .mobi as well as and simultaneously. 

While .mobi remains the only ICANN-approved naming convention to identify mobile content as well as to offer unique search-engine optimization benefits, dotMobi is also aware that the most important aspect of the mobile Web is to offer end users a good experience, no matter how they get to that content.

That said, the dotMobi company is closing in on one million .mobi domains registered with that number continuing to grow. We’re now at our highest-ever number in the name base and we’re poised to be only the sixth gTLD to reach one million domains under management. Further, many brands are promoting their use of the .mobi domain, including AT&T, Blackberry, Five Guys restaurants, JCPenney, Simon and Schuster, even the city of London with its special initiative.

Vance P. Hedderel
Director, PR and Communications