A couple of months ago, dotMobi announced the availability of one and two character domain names. These so called "L" and "LL" names are considered highly desirable because they are easier to type, an especially important consideration for mobile. If a short name is a logical abbreviation of a company or site's full name it can be easy to remember too. Like aa.com for American Airlines and kp.org for Kaiser Permanente, a big U.S. HMO.
Rather than selling these short domains at auction, dotMobi is giving them away for free! Well sort of. According to the dotMobi Blog, the TLD wants;
"... these domains to be used for high-quality mobile content that is backed with significant marketing and promotion plans. That's to say, these domains will be made available primarily to companies and brands who will use the domains to drive the adoption of the mobile Web."
If you think you qualify you can start the process by submitting an "expression of interest". If dotMobi finds you worthy they will invite you to make a formal RFP which must be accompanied by a $500 non-refundable processing fee. So the domains are free but are only available to qualified companies who pay $500 for "processing". Apparently ICANN made "free" a requirement for dotMobi to distribute these names but didn't set any restriction on fees. Actually $500 is probably cheap for an LL.mobi, dotCom LL's typically sell for $1000 and up mostly way up, ss.com is currently available for $2,000,000!
It looks like Cincinnati based Fifth Third Bank, is the first to pass through the approval process and put a LL.mobi online. It's 53.mobi, nice name; memorable and easy to type especially on the many phones that let you type numbers with a long key press in abc or T9 mode.
Fifth Third Bank is a major regional banking corporation operating in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina and Missouri.
The bank's mobile site provides an ATM and branch finder that anyone can use without logging in. Account holders can view their account balance, account summary and recent transactions. Source: Banktech.com via Mobility.mobi.
Ratings: Content Usability
Ready.mobi Score: 4 "Good"
Mobile Link: 53.mobi