Competition? Confusion? It remains to be seen.
Some owners of .mobi domain names are concerned about confusion and competition if one of the applicants for a .mobile domain name should be approved.
Indeed, the strings mobi and mobile are very similar. ICANN’s String Similarity Assessment Tool assigns a similarity score of 72, which is quite high.
My take is .mobi owners don’t have to worry much about .mobile. Two of the three applications for .mobile were filed by companies that plan to run closed registries: Amazon.com and DISH. The third applicant, Donuts, could pose a bit more of a challenge. Its top level domain applications are all generic and scant on specific details about the company’s plans.
There’s also an application for .mobily, but it’s a .brand application.
What .mobi owners could more likely be concerned about (if they still believe in the original premise of a .mobi domain) is competition from other strings that could be used to signify a mobile web site, such as .phone.
But…would a company in 2012 actually think about launching a top level domain that signifies mobile content? That would be like applying for .fax.
The broader point that some of these .mobi backers are bringing up is true, though. New TLDs will provide competition in the aftermarket for most recent top level domains. Will I pay $1,000 for something.biz when I can register something.web for $10?
.Mobi registry Afilias declined to comment for this story. I suspect it is keeping an eye on the situation; it has a long time to file a formal objection should it feel that it’s warranted.
.mobi owners have nothing to worry about. Their names will be just as worthless if .mobile comes in.