Amazon, Donuts, and Dish DBS prevail in dispute over .mobile.
Afilias, the registry that operates the .mobi top level domain name, has lost a consolidated string confusion objection against applicants for .mobile.
This is, I believe, the first objection in which more than one applicant agreed to have the case heard on a consolidated basis.
.Mobile applicants in the case included Amazon.com, Donuts, and Dish DBS.
Panelist M. Scott Donahey determined (pdf) that .mobi and .mobile are not very similar visually, and certainly not aurally.
From a visual perspective, Donahey noted that they are “somewhat visually similar” but not close enough that likely to deceive or cause confusion in the mind of the average, reasonable internet user.
Aurally, he pointed out that mobi isn’t really a word, and it would be pronounced differently by people all over the world. Although mobile is an actual word, it too has multiple pronunciations.
I found it somewhat humorous that the three applicants noted that “Objector has operated the .mobi TLD sine 2006, yet it is used by less than .01% of all web sites.”
Had Afilias won the case, .mobile would not have been allocated in this round of gTLD expansion. Although the three applicants may proceed, they are still contending with each other to determine which applicant will get the .mobile domain.