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3/30/2006
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Mobile Domains For Sale In May

The .mobi suffix should eliminate core problems associated with browsing on .com sites, including large graphics and multimedia content, according to the CEO of the company behind the new domain.

Mobile Top Level Domain (mTLD), the company behind the .mobi (dotmobi) domain, will begin registering Internet addresses in May geared toward mobile devices, a company executive said Wednesday.

The domain suffix comes with a new set of design standards that dotMobi chief executive officer Neil Edwards said will make the Internet more accessible on tiny, portable screens.

Edwards, who's relocating to the mTLD headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, is betting that soon more consumers will log onto the Internet through a mobile device to lookup telephone numbers or seek prices on goods, such as Apple's iPod, rather than turn on their PC.

The .mobi suffix should eliminate core problems associated with browsing on .com sites, including large graphics and multimedia content. "You can't take dot-com content and put it on a mobile phone," Edwards told TechWeb at the Digital Hollywood Spring conference in Santa Monica, Calif. "It doesn't work."

Those who want .mobi addresses will need to tweak their sites to make sure they work as well on a cell-phone screen as PC. Web developers can find the Switch On! style guides here.

The standards will ensure content works for Web browsing, mobile messaging and device compliance on mobile devices, Edwards said. The standards eliminate frames and require developers create content in XHTML, a standard most mobile browsers support today.

Meanwhile, 3 Mobile, Ericsson, Google, GSM World, Nokia, Microsoft, Samsung, T-Mobile, Telefonica, Telecom Italia Mobil and Vodafone have invested to deliver the service. Some early backers already have a .mobi site up and running, such as google.mobi.

Web sites don't need a .mobi address to accommodate wireless users. Many Web sites, such as Yahoo! and Amazon.com, already have versions for cell-phone browsers. But the .mobi suffix and standards will make the technology available to all.

Registrants will need to catalog a domain name through companies, such as GoDaddy, Organic or VeriSign. Getting first dibs from May 22 through May 29 are those who belong to industry organizations, such as GSM Association (GSMA), Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA), Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), and Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF).

Trademark copyright holders, such as The Walt Disney Co., are next from June 12 through August 21. General registration opens August 28.

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