.mobi's Sales Yardstick Once Again Shows It's All About The Money

from the transparent dept

A number of new top-level domains have been introduced over the past few years, like .jobs, .travel and .eu, but unsurprisingly, they haven't been particularly popular, except with domain squatters. Registrars and companies that promote new TLDs feed on this, knowing that most big companies will simply go out and buy up domain names containing their names and trademarks of any new TLD, not because they have any interest in using them, but just to keep them out of the hands of squatters and to avoid getting into disputes over ownership, or having to buy them back at inflated prices later. It's been pretty clear from the outset that one such new TLD, .mobi, intended for web sites aimed at users on mobile devices, has been about little more than the money, despite the protestations of the company behind it. Everything the company has done is geared towards wringing as much money out of the process as possible: .mobi domains carry a higher cost than many other domains, supposedly to cut down on cybersquatting; registrations of trademarks made during the "sunrise" period carried an even greater cost; the company held back 5,000 common words and phrases it will auction off, saying that will ensure a fairer distribution than a first-come, first-served policy and not mentioning it will maximize revenue (while saying it's not a money-grab because they could have held even more names back); putting out a call for advisors on the mobile web, but only if they can pay. But the truth remains that .mobi really does nothing to advance the mobile internet, and all it does is compel companies to snap up more domains they don't need and don't really want.

Public registration of .mobi domains began this week -- at premium prices, of course, during the "landrush" phase -- and plenty of people are asking why anybody would need one. The general counsel of Verizon says the company bought its .mobi domains simply to ward off squatters, as it feels forced to do with any new TLD, while a VeriSign exec says companies should buy the domains for similar reasons, and to avoid dealing with disputes later. The head of mTLD again repeats the claim that .mobi won't be attractive to cybersquatters because of the prohibitively high cost -- again repeating how the solution to some problem involves mTLD getting more money. But it's doubtful the plan worked, as 88,000 .mobi names were registered in the first two days, signaling a lot of interest from squatters, as it's totally unrealistic to assume that there's that much pent-up interest to offer mobile web sites, when so many solutions that don't involve paying for a new domain already exist. Of course, the CEO of mTLD paints the figure as a sign of .mobi's success, saying it took .com "years to do 100,000 names." But, if mTLD's motives were as pure and altruistic as they'd have us all believe, their measure of success for the domain would be how many .mobi sites are actually deployed -- not how many domains they sell, which may or may not ever be used. Once again, the comments make it clear that all of mTLD's comments about driving the mobile web forward and how they just want to make things great and wonderful for mobile users are nothing more than a smokescreen. It's measuring the success of .mobi on sales, not on its actual use, because, once again, the money it gets is all that matters.
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  • identicon
    Lay Person, 28 Sep 2006 @ 8:17am

    This is dumb...

    This is dumb...it has nothing to do with improving the internet but rather making money.

    Who allows such blatant abuses!

    What we need is some sort of internet law enforcement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      The Man, 28 Sep 2006 @ 9:22am

      Re: This is dumb...

      You want to make a gov. regulation to prevent people from making money? Why blame the company for selling the domain name, blame the people who buy it. Obviously with that many sales, their is a market for .mobi. Even if it is purchased to ward off squatters, it is the consumer’s choice to purchase. Remember, capitalism is responsible for all that is good in our country. Socialism and Gov. run companies do not work. The .Mobi company is part of the larger market system that drives this country.

      The effects of the sales of these new domain names on the economy (like all other business) are like the vastness of the universe, to large even to grasp. They employ people who buy things made by people who buy things, made by people who sell things, etc........

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2006 @ 10:22am

        Re: Re: This is dumb...

        You want to make a gov. regulation to prevent people from making money?

        Yes, I think we should have a regulation that STOPS this blatant abuse of coercing comanies into forking over money AGAIN and AGAIN to protect their trademanrks.

        Its extortion to create a new TLD for no purpose. Its nothing more than a money grab.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          The Man, 28 Sep 2006 @ 10:29am

          Re: Re: Re: This is dumb...

          Once again you miss the point. The company is not forcing the money grab. Their is in no way any coercing. Anyone can decide to buy or not buy the product, what ever that may be. Obviously there is some sort of benefit otherwise no one would purchase. Anyone should be allowed to make money any way legally. For every "Money grab" like this that has succeeded, their are thousands that fail because the product was not desired by the consumer.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2006 @ 10:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: This is dumb...

            You have no clue about what a TLD is or how it is delegated do you. Nor do you seem to understand just how ANOTHER tld affects businesses. You dont just "bring to market" a new TLD.

            Noone has a choice. They MUST buy the domain.

            If they don't and someone else does, then they have to sue the other party to surrender the domain name.

            If they DON'T, then they can't sue anyone else for domain squatting. After all when it comes to trademark law, if you dont actively protect your trademark, you forfeit it.

            Some company has built a business model around running DNS servers that noone wanted, has gotten permission to do so, and is now in the process of extorting money from all the companies that paid for all their other TLDs they didnt want. Very few companies actually want more than a single .com.

            Not a single company actually NEEDS more than .com.

            The "benefit" you speak of is the protection from cybersquatting/frivelous lawsuits (that are only created by the product itself). And THAT is extortion.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Lay Person, 28 Sep 2006 @ 11:11am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is dumb...

              #10, OH! THANK YOU! I felt like I was all alone trying to explain to these geniuses!

              In fact I'm just gonna repost:


              Per Mr. Coward:

              "You have no clue about what a TLD is or how it is delegated do you. Nor do you seem to understand just how ANOTHER tld affects businesses. You dont just "bring to market" a new TLD.

              Noone has a choice. They MUST buy the domain.

              If they don't and someone else does, then they have to sue the other party to surrender the domain name.

              If they DON'T, then they can't sue anyone else for domain squatting. After all when it comes to trademark law, if you dont actively protect your trademark, you forfeit it.

              Some company has built a business model around running DNS servers that noone wanted, has gotten permission to do so, and is now in the process of extorting money from all the companies that paid for all their other TLDs they didnt want. Very few companies actually want more than a single .com.

              Not a single company actually NEEDS more than .com.

              The "benefit" you speak of is the protection from cybersquatting/frivelous lawsuits (that are only created by the product itself). And THAT is extortion."

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2006 @ 9:33am

      Re: This is dumb...

      internet law enforcement would be even dumber. this is not an abuse - it's a business strategy. if people purchase the names then it's apparantly a good one. what's wrong with exploiting an opportunity? that's free enterprise my friend and it's what the America is all about.

      policing the internet would destroy it and all the freedoms it brings us. use your brain.

      FTA: saying it took .com "years to do 100,000 names."
      lol - yeah it also took years for the internet to expand to the point where people actually used it - what does this guy take us for? oh, wait - this is for all those sheep out there that were born with their heads up their asses.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Alison, 28 Sep 2006 @ 8:29am

    I think it isn't just squatters but the panic every new TLD brings that there will be trademark battles later makes people spend a lot of money on something they may never need.

    As a user, I'll look up a company under their .de or .co.uk name if I want to see if they have their website in my language. Or I'll just go to the .com and look for a language link.

    If I am using my cell phone to look up something like a train schedule then I don't want to wait forever to go to the .com and click on a link. I want a barebones facts only website. So I am looking forward to some companies actually having .mobis


    But I can think of just a handful of companies that need that. Transportation, Movie times, telephone directories, books on Pdf etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Steve E, 28 Sep 2006 @ 9:05am

    We have bought both .travel (being in travel) and .mobi purely for brand/trademark protection reasons, I don't expect we'd ever use either of them in earnest.

    If we do create a mobile version of our site we'll keep it under the normal domain and just sniff out the device that is accessing it and serve the relevant content/code. I see no reason to complicate matters by having a website at .com and a mobile site at .mobi, it's not a good way to get your domain ingrained in users heads...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dreadsword, 28 Sep 2006 @ 9:39am

    Its so funny how the TLD intended for mobile use is longer than most common TLD's - making it less suitable for mobile use. WTF is the point of this?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lay Person, 28 Sep 2006 @ 10:15am

    Reply to #4 and #5

    The internet is a world unto itself. It has real as well as virtual aspects. This is obvious, but what's not so obvious is that certain elements (questionable people) try to take advantage of the real world through virtual means and vice versa.

    This happens very easily when there are no consequences. When there are consequences peoipel behave differently. As time goes by we will vest more of the real world into the virtual. No enforcement of rules will cause conflicts rendering the virtual world ineffective. Which is what we see of more and more.

    In order to prevent this ongoing problem one of two things must occur: strip peoples anonymity from the web or have real consequences for offenders once they are identified. Either way people will behave due to potential consequences of all actions. The virtual needs to be made more real by tying actions to individuals.

    None of this posting has to do with profit. Sure people are profitting but by abusing the TLD sytem. These purchasers a purchasing due to extortion and nothing else.

    If you can't see that the TLD system is being abused for profit, I simply won't go into that here...too little space and leads to a completely different topic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    The Man, 28 Sep 2006 @ 11:27am

    I am sorry, now I understand.

    You are so much smarter than everyone else. When you were positng about TLDs I thought you were talking about those telephones that help the deaf communicate.

    If I have more technology questions can I contact you?

    This whole free market and technology is sooooo confusing. Just glad there are people out there to explain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lay Person, 28 Sep 2006 @ 1:45pm

      Re: I am sorry, now I understand.

      You are so much smarter than everyone else.

      ##No, just smarter than the likes of you.

      When you were positng about TLDs I thought you were talking about those telephones that help the deaf communicate.

      ##No TLD stands for Top Level Dildo...once again, it's about you.

      If I have more technology questions can I contact you?

      ##Any time.

      This whole free market and technology is sooooo confusing. Just glad there are people out there to explain.

      ##Again, any time.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        The Man, 28 Sep 2006 @ 2:04pm

        Re: Re: I am sorry, now I understand.

        Wow, you are an angry, angry person.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Lay Person, 28 Sep 2006 @ 2:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: I am sorry, now I understand.

          Yup.

          Actually, (blending into another topic)...I'm just sick of living in the city.

          People are driving me nuts!

          Don't take any of my crap personally. I just vent, just a big asshole...venting.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            The Man, 28 Sep 2006 @ 2:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I am sorry, now I understand.

            Vent away.

            I feel for you with the whole City thing. That's why I moved. It may take me 45 min to get to decent resturant or shopping, but you know what? I actually get to cover about 60 miles in that 45 min car drive instead of 5 miles. It really is great.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    danimal, 28 Sep 2006 @ 11:30am

    .Com on!

    .com on, people! You want a .gov .org to regulate the .net? Let me .edu you, .mobi is a .biz! They create .jobs for your .info!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2006 @ 12:38pm

    It actually makes sense auctioning the good domains off.
    It increases the chances of good content there, rather than some cybersquatter grabbing it.

    And sure, you could redirect a .com.
    But how many actually do this ?
    The point with .mobi is you are GUARANTEED to get a mobile friendly site.

    But mobile internet won't really take off until price plans include free browsing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bubba, 28 Sep 2006 @ 12:43pm

    just bought techdirt.mobi....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ArrogantBastard, 28 Sep 2006 @ 1:13pm

    It's a bonanza for extortionists and squatters

    The number of sites that actually WANT a domain in the .mobi TLD
    so that they can offer specialized content could be counted without
    running out of fingers. And they're all wrong: it's much easier,
    simpler, faster, cheaper and better to provide specialized content
    within the framework of an existing website, merely by tailoring
    it based on information gleaned about the requesting browser/OS/etc.
    This not only accomodates mobile devices, but text-only browsers,
    search engine spiders, and so on.

    But let's put that aside for a moment, and generously presume that
    this handful of sites have some valid reason for actually wanted to
    have a .mobi domain.

    Everyone else is either (a) an extortionist or (b) a squatter or (c) someone
    trying to pre-emptively defend themselves from (a) or (b).

    Accordingly, the best course of action is to simply blacklist the
    entire TLD and be done with it. If done widely enough, this
    will reduce the value of a .mobi domain to zero - thus discouraging
    the vermin of type (a) and (b) and hopefully removing the economic
    incentive for its (utterly superfluous) existence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    4-80-sicks, 28 Sep 2006 @ 1:21pm

    re: .com years to do 100,000 names

    I can't believe they actually think that's a yardstick. The idea that they expect anyone to view that as a measure of success is just shocking and dumbfounding. If Alienware sold 100,000 computers in 2001 (or whenever they started), does that mean they are more successful than IBM, who only sold one or three computers in their first year?

    I guess it's an obvious premise I'm touting here, but how ridiculous can they get?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe Fox, 10 Oct 2006 @ 10:26am

    .MOBI

    .MOBI is for content producers. this qualifies the number of .MOBI registrations. Internet 2.0 is represented by the consumer by "Self-Publishing". Many expert project it eventually as the #2 after .COM, although there are some who think .INFO will end up #2, as it is understood by 30 languages worldwide. Good names in any TLD have an intrinsic "type-in" traffic worth. I have seen even misspelling in .COM that are going for serious bucks. By the way we are up to 55,000,000 registrations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Fox, 13 Mar 2007 @ 12:04pm

      dot mobi

      yes, you made some good points fella. several months on, you're still correct. hope you registered some nice names? time for development!
      .mobi is the future!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2006 @ 4:06pm

    Your use of the term squatter is offensive as it implies an illegal act. Try the dictionary some day. There are cybersquatters, who register trademarked terms for profit, and then there are registrants, who register names for various purposes and uses.

    Please refrain from posting nonsense.

    Thank you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Domain Genius, 13 Mar 2007 @ 12:00pm

    .mobi

    well well well!
    12th march 2007 & its looking like .mobi is a huge success!
    400,000 registrations. top .mobis selling for $200,000
    developed sites all over the place
    www.paypal.mobi www.foxnews.mobi thousands more
    you see, the above geniuses forgot, like every other extension its about branding, but .mobi actually adds compatability too!
    the user is guaranteed a good surfing experience on a .mobi site
    also they have the aded bonus with browser detection that the site can be used on a pc.
    i just feel sorry for all the losers that missed out! ha ha !

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2007 @ 12:39am

    I do not know much about the .mobi issues, but I very enjoyed reading all of your comments. I learned about new issues and new perspectives from all of you.

    Thank you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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