So the .mobi top-level domain is more than just another way for registrars to make a quick buck, it's also now a way for the companies behind the proposal to exercise control over how mobile sites are developed. mTLD, the administrator of the domain, has joined up with the W3C's Mobile Web Initiative to develop a set of "best practices" that .mobi sites must follow. While there's always concern about local governments censoring Web content, mTLD's stance opens up an ugly can of worms that could become a precedent for TLD administrators becoming the chief arbiters of web content and development. As we've said before, there's no need to create a mobile-only part of the web. Devices and their browsers are becoming more powerful and are able to access lots of standard web, but "normal" web sites are also becoming more adept at catering to mobile users. mTLD's rules aren't just dangerous, but are short-sighted as well, as their best practices will inevitably lag technological advances, stifling innovation. Looking at the list of the companies behind .mobi -- which includes several of the world's biggest mobile operators -- it's hard not to be cynical and think that what will drive the practices will really have little to do with making things easier for end users, as they claim, but rather making content fit their agenda. Separating out mobile content from the rest of the Web won't make things easier for users at all, really, but it will probably make it easier for operators to bill for Web access or limit what content users can view. Letting a TLD administrator be a tool for this kind of agenda sets a dangerous precedent.
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