mTLD, the company set up by Nokia, 3, Google, Ericsson, Vodafone, Samsung, T-Mobile and other industry bigwigs to run the .mobi top-level domain is being purchased by another registrar responsible for such hits as the .info TLD. I was pretty skeptical of .mobi from the outset, and saw it as little more than a moneygrab, despite mTLD’s claims that all they were really trying to do was take the mobile web mainstream (something which, of course, really didn’t require its own top-level domain). The sale to another registrar would seem would seem to signal an end to the adventure, but it’s also a good time to reflect just how far the mobile web has come over the past five or so years. Saying the only way to move the mobile web forward is with a specific domain these days is a laughable concept. Of course, it was a laughable concept back then, too, but now plenty more people understand that.
Some good did come out of .mobi in the form of Mobiforge, its developer arm, which created a large number of resources for mobile web developers. A blog post there says business will carry on as usual. Hopefully that’s the case.
And in case you were wondering, my favorite .mobi site, flowers.mobi — you remember, the one that was purchased for $200,000 in 2006 and was supposed to be developed into a legit site with “relevant content” — is still just a parked domain with ads. And it’s still not compliant with .mobi’s rules for its sites. Big surprise there.