Landrush opens for .mobi

A new internet domain specifically designed for mobile phone viewing has opened for sale. The .mobi domain has finished its trade mark-protecting 'sunrise' period and has put all available addresses on general sale.

The domain is designed to host only sites that are specifically designed for use on mobile phones and devices. The consortium behind it, mTLD, has said that it will police sites to make sure that they are not normal internet sites, but mobile phone sites.

The domain names will cost more than many others: £25 a year initially and then £12 a year from 11th October. The extra revenue will cover the cost of that policing, according to the consortium.

The consortium operated a 'sunrise' policy between 12th June and 22nd September. During this period owners of trade marks could apply for the domains of those trade marks and be granted them.

In sunrise periods, applications not supported with documentation proving ownership of trade marks are rejected. Multiple applications for the same domain supported by trade marks, for example from different countries or regions, are judged on a first come first served basis.

Those wishing to register during the sunrise period were charged a higher rate, £100 for a year, for their domains.

The last attempt to create specific areas of the internet only available to mobile phones was when phone companies created WAP sites in the late 1990s. It was not a success.

The company behind .mobi is a consortium including Nokia, Google, Hutchison, Vodafone, Telefonica, T-Mobile, Ericsson, Samsung and Microsoft. That consortium worked with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to create standards governing what sites would qualify as being solely for mobile devices.

Not all names are for sale this week, though. The .mobi operator mTLD has held back a list of 5,647 domain names which it considers to be 'premium' names. Once trade mark holders have had a chance to claim their trade marked names, some of the names will be allocated to groups whose applications are evaluated according to their benefit to users.

The rest of the names will be auctioned off, both in live and online auctions, said mTLD. The names include such domains as adultsex.mobi, yellowpages.mobi, wireless.mobi, ugly.mobi, telephone.mobi and life.mobi.