BREAKING: mTLD issues proposal to ICANN to release single-character .mobi’s via RFP
Reported by Andres Kello of Mobility.mobi
This is huge and unprecedented, folks, and if it gets approved it will be very positive for the future of this extension.
Those of us in the MAG (Mobi Advisory Board) have been aware of this for a few weeks now and it was made official today.
mTLD has issued a formal proposal to ICANN today to release single-character .mobi’s via RFP.
Here are the key points:
- dotMobi now proposes to release and allocate all single character domains on the second level in an equitable manner.
- dotMobi has consulted with its Policy Advisory Board [PAB] on the scope and nature of this project. PAB members are in full support of the reservation release and allocation of single character domains in the manner defined below and view it as an opportunity to advance the .mobi TLD by facilitating the creation of compelling content. Members believe that this provides a particularly relevant and beneficial opportunity for the .mobi community in particular, where names with shorter keystrokes have huge appeal in the context of mobile devices.
- dotMobi also consulted with members of the .mobi Advisory Group [MAG]. Again, MAG members endorse this proposal and agree that such domains should be partnered with ‘best-in-class’ content, which the RFP process described further below is designed to ensure.
- dotMobi’s Board members, representatives from 14 different companies in the mobile and Internet space, strongly advocate the allocation of these names and point to the benefits to the community.
- dotMobi plans to launch the allocation process during Q3/Q4 of 2008.
- dotMobi will issue a Request for Proposals for single character domains on the second level. The RFP will articulate evaluation criteria designed to ensure that the award and registration results in the addition of high quality, innovative content to the dotMobi community. Evaluation criteria will take into account the applicant’s business and technical capabilities, experience in the mobile market, marketing expertise, business plan and the manner and purposes for which the proposed sites would be operated.
- Auctions will not form any part of this allocation process and dotMobi will not make a profit from this process.
- Once the applications have been evaluated by dotMobi’s internal review team, dotMobi will notify the winning applicants that subject to reaching agreement on a binding contract, they will be offered registration credentials for these domains. Contracts with the applicants will be designed to ensure that the applicants will fulfill their obligations to build and operate a site in accordance with the underlying proposal. dotMobi will transfer registration credentials shortly after contract execution.
- dotMobi may elect to allocate registration credentials in multiple RFP allocation rounds, depending on market demand and interest. dotMobi will also elect not to allocate registration credentials for some or all of the domains offered.
- Under the proposed allocation process, companies and individual players within the mobile content space will compete against each other to offer innovative services and products in connection with a domain name that will ultimately benefit the end user.
- Operation of any second level domains registered following the RFP process would be subject to ICANN stability and security policies.
- The proposal would modestly increase the number of unique domain names to be registered. All of the safeguards afforded to owners of intellectual property (eg UDRP, anti-cybersquatting laws, regulation etc) willapply to the introduction of such names. dotMobi does not believe that there are unique IP issues raised by the allocation and registration of single letter names at the second level.
- Some businesses / individuals may claim or have attempted to apply for trademarks in single letters or in conjunction with the .mobi TLD, especially in anticipation of a release by the Registry of these valuable domains. These entities may be interested in applying for a single character .mobi domain via the RFP process and will be entitled to do so along with any other third party. In addition, to the extent that the parties believe that registration by another party infringes their intellectual property, ICANN has provided ample tools to resolve these claims.
- dotMobi’s primary objective is to secure compelling content for end users and the RFP process will be designed to identify applicants that offer the best content solutions and proposals on the .mobi domain and adhere to the technical rules and recommendations that dotMobi endorses.
Benefits of the Proposed Service:
Quality content is critical at this stage in the lifecycle of the .mobi domain and the mobile Internet in general.The release of single character names would create a significant impact on mobile Internet awareness and adoption. Members of the dotMobi community are supportive of the release for this reason.At present, single character domains in the dotMobi Registry are sitting ‘idle’ and provide no benefit to the dotMobi community and/or mobile Internet users. Allocation of single character domains based on the RFP
process will make new content, new services and features available to mobile Internet users. This usage, together with the associated marketing and awareness campaigns, will help drive adoption of the .mobi domain as well as mobile Internet usage in general.
Because domains that require fewer keystrokes are of particular importance to a TLD like .mobi that is geared towards mobile users, the single character .mobi domains will attract significant interest from mobile content providers.
Since dotMobi’s launch, the Registry has made it clear on its web-site and via its Registrars that registrations must be three characters or longer in compliance with its contract with ICANN. This has inhibited the number of
written inquiries on this matter. However, consultations with members of the sponsored community point to the fact that as well as offering content to end users, single character domains will provide search benefits and
marketing / promotional opportunities for content providers.