Alright kids, it’s time for a little game. Raise your hand if you’ve visited a website with a .com TLD today. Alright, good! Now raise your hand if you’ve been to a .net site today. Great! Here’s the last one: raise your hand if you’ve been to a .mobi site.
That’s what we thought. And that might change.
In 2005, the .mobi top-level domain was introduced in an effort to improve the mobile web browsing experience by creating a subset of websites specifically meant for mobile access. It was certainly an interesting idea, and it was backed by a laundry list of industry notables, including Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung, and T-Mobile just to name a few. Looking back on it now though, as we can all see, the whole concept was patently ridiculous. Instead of segregating the internet into mobile and non-mobile friendly areas, mobile browsing has shifted in a way that promotes better browsers that can view regular websites with aplomb.
Given the way the industry is moving, it’s not a terrible surprise to hear that the .mobi was recently sold off to an Irish registrar. Afilias, who already owns the .info TLD, will be earning an “undisclosed annual fee” for each of the .mobi sites registered, so there’s a vested interest in keeping them alive and kicking. According to their press release, “Afilias’ strategic domain expertise combined with mobile industry support will be a powerful accelerant for .mobi growth”, so we could potentially be looking at a .mobi comeback, but we’re not counting on it.