Research from Ground Truth shows no consensus among the naming conventions for mobile websites; especially when examined by both usage and by share of the 1.6 million sites Ground
For years, there has been an ongoing
debate over which mobile Web domain convention (i.e. ".mobi", "wap.",
etc.) are most important to use, with various camps lobbying for their
own mobile website prefix or suffix. But when they looked at the numbers, they found cacophony, not consensus among the naming conventions;
especially once they examined them by both usage and by share of the 1.6
million sites Ground Truth measures.
Note: We at Wireless and Mobile News found that it was better to keep our mobile website wmns.mobi separate because Google got confused and was sending PC-searchers to the mobile-formatted webpages instead of the full website.
They found that 43.1 percent of all mobile sites lacked a mobile domain at all (though many "www." sites are mobile-optimized). The most common mobile-centric domain is "m.", representing only .46 percent of total mobile sites. It's also the most used mobile domain convention, in terms of page views, with 10.3 percent of all page views. Interestingly, the old legacy "wap." standard comprises 6.5 percent of page views, even though it is less commonly used than all naming conventions besides "wireless.".
In the week ending July 4, 2010, Ground Truth measured 5.01 billion page views that included requests to 1,555,630 unique domains. The data shows that 18,934 (1.2 percent) of those measured domains and sub-domains were mobile-centric, such as "m.", "wap." and ".mobi", but 17.3 percent of total page views were served from those domains. The remaining pages were served from domains without a mobile-specific domain, such as "www." sites. Some of these sites, however, are mobile-aware, such as www.google.com, www.facebook.com, etc.
Mobile developers just might develop a migraine before they figure out how to develop their mobile sites, and how many it's going to take to command enough eyeballs.
|Mobile Web Domains by Naming Convention|
Week Ending July 4, 2010
|Source: Ground Truth. Census of 3.06|
million U.S. mobile subscribers for the week ending July 4, 2010.
*Sub-domains and page views are not measures of the example domains
Of the mobile-centric domains, the prefix "m." and the ".mobi" suffix
appear about equally, but sites using the "m." prefix serve 21 times
more pages than do ".mobi" domains, Ground Truth reports. Following in
popularity (by number of sub-domains) are the "mobile." prefix and
legacy "wap." prefix. However, there is significant disparity of actual
usage (as defined by page views) between them. The analysis shows that
"wap." is nearly as commonly deployed by publishers as "mobile." but is
used 68 times more by consumers.
According to Ground Truth, the least popular mobile-centric prefix by
a large margin is "wireless.", showing up in only 37 domains, and
serving just 127,110 pages.
Ground Truth contends “It's clear we need standards, and this is just one more way the
mobile industry has done itself a disservice by failing to get ahead of
the debate and develop a lingua franca for the development community.
We think this is critical, as multiple standards present multiple
development hurdles. We also think this study underscores the
importance for publishers to serve optimized content for the device
making the request—be it a PC, mobile phone, netbook or tablet; before
they lose consumers to the frustration of accessing content that does
not properly render on any given device.”