Recently a seminar was held in San Jose where a Ms. Cindy Krum was permitted to give a seminar celebrating the death of .mobi. Next, a Ms. Rebecca Lieb repeated the news that .mobi is dead. It is quite clear that the presentation was factually inaccurate and, in fact, could cause harm to clients who follow the advice given. This is my response.
Congratulations to Ms. Lieb on chairing what was undoubtedly an influential panel discussion. It is unfortunate, however, that the presenter, Ms. Krum, who is quoted as an expert in both search engine optimization and mobile websites appears to have provided misinformation to the conference attendees.
Don’t use mobi for SEO
From a search engine optimization perspective, she warns attendees about duplicate content. It so happens that Matt Cutts of Google has indicated different tld’s are not penalized for duplicate content (February 1, 2008). Additionally, creating a site with a m. in front of the domain name creates a subdomain, which does not receive the pagerank of the root domain. Additionally, the m. does not appear as a mobile site in the zone file and is not recognized as a mobile site. As a mobile blogger, I have first hand experience with numerous .mobi sites on the first page of Google and Yahoo, so it is incorrect to state that .mobi is bad for SEO.
Transcoding is Foolproof
Ms. Krum advocates the use of transcoding, but in reality, this is problematic. In a recent blog post right here on mobiEnthusiast.mobi, I demonstrated that sites that are transcoded are prone to be displayed incorrectly, especially if they rely on tables for design. The demonstrated site was a professional style site with a dark gray background, and the transcoded version appeared as chunks of gray blocks interspersed with random-looking text. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the mobile provider will take the mobile directions into consideration when rendering the site. For example, both Sprint PCS in the United States and Vodaphone in the UK require mobile website owners to register their sites with a whitelist to avoid ignoring the header information. Dot mobi sites, however, are automatically whitelisted because it is assumed that they will be properly formatted for mobile devices. How many other carriers will institute random transcoding when their customers start complaining that the websites are not loading properly? How long of a delay will there be before a client’s non-.mobi mobile website is listed on the whitelist?
iPhone Killed Mobi
The argument that iPhone has killed .mobi is refuted by Apple itself, as many .mobi sites are listed on the Apple apps site. I have an iPhone and regularly use it to access the internet, and here is what happens: non-mobile sites are shrunk down to the point where they are unreadable. Using a pinching motion, the site can be made smaller, and using a reverse-pinching motion makes the type on the page larger. It’s actually quite time consuming, much like zooming and dragging Google maps to find the correct destination.
Mobi is Dead
Additionally, .mobi sites are being adopted daily by multinational corporations. You can see a list of them on Why.mobi and mtld.mobi/showcase. If .mobi is dead, why would small businesses and established companies, most notably banks, financial institutions, automobile manufacturers, luxury brands and other consumer goods companies spend time and money promoting them? They wouldn’t. In this tight economy, businesses are spending money on things that work, and .mobi works.
The simple fact is that .mobi and the standards behind it is alive and well. The more people use mobile phones to access the internet, the more they will realize that a properly designed .mobi site is quick, convenient, and marketable – moreso than any of its counterparts.