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By Carl Weinschenk

The Internet is about to take another step into the future with the official introduction of the .mobi top level domain (TLD) next month.

.mobi is a bit different than other TLDs, such as .com, .gov, .biz and .org. These seek a more systematic and organized way to present data aimed a specific audiences. What they don’t do, however, is presuppose that devices to which the content is being delivered differ from one TDL to another.

.mobi is the diametric opposite. The content itself cuts across all audiences. The focus is on making life easier for people using cell phones, which are limited by miniscule screens, limited processing power and, even with the advent of 3G networks, slower access to the Internet.

Indeed, it will become even more important to customize for mobile devices as time goes by. Virus writers are starting to target mobile devices, so the already small amount of processing power in a cell phone will be further limited by the need to run AV software.

.mobi is designed to limit those shortcomings. It will dispense with the "www." preface and standardize site naming to make it easier for travelers to guess the mobile URL. Perhaps more importantly, .mobi-compliant sites will be written in eXtensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML) and will dispense with frames. The result is that sites will load faster.

Some tests sites are available. Check out weather.mobi, for instance. It has a different, no nonsense, feel and gets the visitor quickly to the information he or she wants.

This won't happen overnight, but small businesses need to keep an eye on this. If .mobi takes off, companies will have to decide whether or not to run an alternative mobile site. In the shorter term, this may be particularly important to retailers, who will want customers using local search tools on their cells to be able to find them. It is highly likely that internal applications—such as customer relationship management (CRM)—will benefit from the .mobi TLD.

Carl Weinschenk is the Editorial Director of SmartBiz.
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