Re: vodafone and novarra
> Is dotMobi on developers' side? yes or no?Yes.
Developers are a neglected constituency in the mobile ecosystem. That's
why we're working hard on creating http://dev.mobi, http://ready.mobi,
etc. (Over 4,000 developers can't be wrong :-) )
A critical mass of content is required to start the cogs of the mobile
web turning, and it's still too hard to create great sites. In our own
way, we're trying to democratise and demystify mobile development.
OK. But where does that leave Vodafone? Not so simple :-)
First I'll say, I suspect they genuinely thought they could also help
kick-start the mobile web.
I don't know for sure, but I imagine that Vodafone's logic went
something like this:
1. the data tariff is flattening
2. users are going to go on-line en masse
3. we can't educate them quickly enough that they should use
made-for-mobile sites (and perhaps there aren't enough of those sites
4. so they will go to not-made-for-mobile-sites, whether we want them
to or not
5. and when they have a poor experience, they won't return - to any
type of site
I believe Vodafone's investment in dotMobi is designed to address point
3. We help identify made-for-mobile sites with the .mobi address, and
help developer build those sites (whether they use the that domain or
And I guess Vodafone's transcoding project is designed to address point
5. "At the very least, let's provide a safety net so that people who
attempt to visit crazy not-for-mobile sites have at least a sensible
(One could even see this as being a stop-gap until made-for-mobile URLs
are as colloquial as not-made-for-mobile URLs.)
And actually, I personally think this logic holds up.
But - and it's a very big BUT - logic is one thing, implementation is
another. Masking the user-agent and leaving no clues seems wholly
unnecessary. The transcoding itself has been very buggy (with images in
particular I believe). And not telling content providers ahead-of-time
so they could prepare has been revealed as a huge mistake.
So, yes. For me, the jury is still out. But I also know that little can
never be changed.
I feel a little like a negotiator for the United Nations here, but I
would add one final point. The more bellicose, and less constructive,
the mobile ecosystem becomes towards itself, the less likely it is that
any of us will see it succeed.
I agree that standardisation is a painstaking process. But it is
necessary. However, holy wars are not the only other alternative :-)
- Kenneth I think you raised a very important question. Is it
necessarily copyright violations I am not sure. But given that they
have a white list, they can selectively mess up certain sites by
messing with the User-Agent string and the returned content. You can
argue that they are giving preferential treatment to certain sites but
not others. Messing with the User-Agent also means that they are not
respecting the will of the original content owner to present sites to
phones the way it was intended.
IANAL but they have to be in some kind of legal problem by doing what
they do. Especially wrt the white list, as they have sole discretion
for who gets into that.
Let's say site A is a direct competitor with site B (ringtones
download, for example). If they decided to white-list site A with
which they have revenue agreements with, and refuse to put site B in
their white list. Can you say abusing their position for
anti-competitive behavior? It's very easy for this to fall into this,
once they put a, say, ringtones site in their white list who bills
--- In email@example.com, "kenneth gf brown" <ken@...> wrote:
> doesn't this all blur the line between
> a common carrier and an editor or publisher?
> modifing the content in a manner to "prioritise"
> data for presentment to an end user smacks of...
> copyright violations writ large...
> how does the transcoding take into account the copyright
> of the various parties who presented the original data/layout