going .mobi

dotMobi LogoI picked up a couple of .mobi domains for my sites. The mobile edition of this blog is at wapreview.mobi and the yeswap.com portal is now available at yeswap.mobi. Yeswap.com and mp.wapreview.com aren’t going away, however. And, as soon as I mobilize the rest of the Wap Review site you’ll be able to go to wapreview.com with a phone browser and see a mobile site there too.

I have mixed feelings about the whole .mobi concept. There’s a lot wrong with .mobi like the .mobi extension that is harder to enter on a phone keypad then .wap or .wp or even .com and then there is the gouging that the .mobi registrar is doing on the price of a domain. But it’s good to finally have a standard for mobile specific URLs instead the mess we have now with wap.site.com and mobile.site.net and site.com/mobile/ and all the other variations.

I firmly believe that the best solution is to have a single URL for both the PC and mobile versions and to use browser detection to serve the right page to each type of browser. But not everyone has the resources or commitment needed to make browser detection work. It requires server side scripting which leaves out a lot of amateurs on shared hosting. It’s also harder than it should be as there’s no standard for identifying a mobile browser. You have to search the user agent header for a dozen different patterns like ‘Nokia’, ‘MOT-‘ ‘Windows CE’, ‘Symbian’, ‘SE-‘ just to name a few. New phones are constantly being released with user agents that don’t match any of the old patterns. There’s are even a browser (nWeb) that sends the exact user agent of Netscape and can only be detected by checking a different header. It’s ugly and error prone.

In the end, even if you do use browser detection, you really still need a another mobile specific URL just for the cases where detection fails. Mobi exists and it has the backing of most of the major players: Ericsson, Google, Hutchison, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung , T-Mobile and Vodafone – and it’s probably our last chance to have to standard for mobile site naming. Ideally a site should serve appropriate content to both mobiles and PCs from it’s main URL – but if you are going to have a mobile specific URL it should be a .mobi address. So, yeswap.mobi and wapreview.mobi are officially live.