Only since Sept. 2006 have the .mobi domain names been publicly available, making big headlines with domain sales in the hundred-thousand-dollar range, including Sportsbook.mobi, Flowers.mobi and Fun.mobi. It’s easy to see why these huge transactions have raised quite a few eyebrows and some interest! However, is this interest a passing fad or something that you, a realtor, should be seriously considering?
First of all, let me explain that to have a ‘mobile friendly’ site, you do not need the .mobi extension. The .mobi extension is ultimately no different than .net, .edu, or .com, except that it is intended to house a mobile friendly site.
There has been a lot of controversy over the advantages and disadvantages of the .mobi domains as well:
The main advantage to .mobi is that the pages under the .mobi domain are expected to be fully customized for the mobile phone’s browser. This means that the site has been built with the mobile phone’s browser in mind and will look good on almost every mobile platform.
However, having two separate domain names for your website creates two separate internets – one for mobile access and one for normal internet viewing, dependent entirely on the device used to access them. Keep in mind, this means maintaining two separate websites/domains, one for standard browsers and one for mobile browsers.
The other thing to consider is that web sites can automatically detect what platform a visitor is accessing the site through. Go to google.com on your phone, you end up at m.google.com. Its hassle-free to the end user. For this reason, you do not need .mobi to have a mobile friendly site!
Also, domain name extensions become successful when lots of people use them and recognize them. There are still many people who are not familiar with .mobi and will not think to type it into their browser.
It seems to me that .mobi is not a domain extension for the typical website owner. Unless you plan on spending some time and money on making your business all about mobile web applications it’s really not worth it!