The survey today from dotMobi and AKQA Mobile showing a strong consumer demand for services on the mobile web raises an important question over what web address you put on consumer facing promotions.
I agree that promoting a .mobi domain makes it crystal clear to the consumer that the site is optimized for mobile – something that’s essential to avoiding a bad mobile web experience for the user. But if over 50% of respondents don’t realize mobile-ready websites exist (according to the survey), is promoting a .mobi going to confuse them even more?
The question is with limited space on TV or print ads, would you promote both your .com address and your .mobi alongside other details such as a phone number for people to call? In an ideal world, your .com site would detect mobile users and present the mobile optimized website. But we don’t live in an ideal world so brands must grapple with what makes most sense for the consumer. AKQA has done a great job in bringing mobile into the mainstream marketing plans of its clients and recommend their clients promote the .mobi. News International sites – The Times and The Sun – also promote the .mobi address.
But we could start to see a US/Europe divide with the US opting for the m.brandname.com convention and Europe going for brandname.mobi. Given the option of entering m.thesun.co.uk or thesun.mobi into their phone browser, you can see why .mobi makes practical sense.