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Summary:

Whoever thinks the web is sliding ever-so gently onto mobile phones hasn’t spent much time mucking around in the cellular browser. The mobile Internet is kicking its way there, with a lot of confusing choices for consumers — dot mobi, WAP, mobile.name.com. But I’ve noticed a […]

Whoever thinks the web is sliding ever-so gently onto mobile phones hasn’t spent much time mucking around in the cellular browser. The mobile Internet is kicking its way there, with a lot of confusing choices for consumers — dot mobi, WAP, mobile.name.com. But I’ve noticed a trend lately of Internet companies using m.name.com, or M Dot, to go mobile.

This weekend Twitter lit up its latest mobile site with m.twitter.com. That follows the moves of Internet companies, especially search, like Yahoo’s m.yahoo.com, Google’s m.google.com, and Ask’s m.ask.com. Like its parent, YouTube also has the m.youtube.com site, though, it’s currently blocked and won’t open up until June stateside.

M:Metrics, a research firm that complies data on mobile usage, tracks the m.domains as subdomains of websites visited on mobile devices. Interestingly enough, M:Metrics says that “m.domains accounted for a small percentage of Microsoft and Google domains. . . but 30 percent of Yahoo.com. Users went to the m.yahoo domain, more than went to mail.yahoo.com or login.yahoo.com.” So some of these m.sites are getting decent traction with consumers.

Why are Internet companies doing this? Twitter says:

We use the m because it’s the shortest possible meaningful sub domain and typing on some phones is a pain. We didn’t launch [the main site] with auto-detection because it would have held back the launch (it’s difficult).

Basically the M Dot is a symbol of how some of the Internet companies are thinking about the mobile web — come at it from a desktop perspective, and doing the easiest thing until a more standardized way comes around.

What do you think? Do you use m.domain or an alternative? Why or why not?

  1. Flickr mobile uses m.flickr.com as well.

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  2. the ‘m’ is also nice and easy to enter when using multitap on a numeric phone keypad. for example, in my mobile app, tiny twitter, the download is located at m.ttwt.at. each letter is the first tap on the number pad:

    ‘m’=6, ‘t’=8, ‘w’=9, ‘a’=2

    makes it a peice of cake to enter on a phone.

    so, ‘m’ for mobile and ‘m’ is easy to enter :)

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  3. I think its the best option for companies going mobile. More sensible than going the .mobi route. Also auto detection can be a pain. I think we will continue to see this trend.

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  4. great observation.

    i, for one, welcome our new m.dot overlords.

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  5. We use auto detection. However, I have wondered whether search engines would benefit from having mobile content on a different host like m.domain.com.

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  6. Dumb choices. What in God’s name could’ve convinced these companies that m.name.com is more attractive/brand strenthening than name.mobi? Their brands are “name” not name.com! Name.mobi is much better sounding, and isn’t hard to type at all. Hope they come to their senses soon.

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  7. We put up http://m.30boxes.com last year for brevity also. For folks logging into mobile site, you may want to devise your own mobile friendly passwords made up of the first character from your number buttons ;-)

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  8. We use .mobi for Newsvine but with the same line of thinking you mention above:

    “come at it from a desktop perspective, and doing the easiest thing until a more standardized way comes around.”

    Whether you think m. or .mobi is the best route is really just a matter of taste. .mobi is easier because you domain and subdomain levels stay exactly the same, but m. is easier because it’s less keys. Either way, we use detection as well so a hit to the regular site should pop you over to the mobile site anyway.

    It’s a mess out there right now, so whatever you choose to do in the interim, just be prepared to change it when it makes sense to.

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  9. m.tellme.com

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  10. Me too! Me too!

    http://m.plaxo.com

    :)

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