Should your company name match your domain name for branding purposes?

Choosing a domain name is a really important branding decision. Whenever possible, register your company name as your main URL (domain name/website address) because it is what people enter first when searching for your website.
You should also look at registering your product/service names as additional URLs. Some companies create mini-sites specifically for products and services or you can use these URLs to point directly to the relevant section of your main website.

Buy up ‘common’ misspellings of your domain name, this means you won’t lose any potential traffic and competitors won’t be able to buy those domains to siphon off traffic intended for your site. The only real defense against typo squatting is buying variants of domain names that might be hijacked by your competitors and this includes purchasing the singular/plural, hyphenated/non-hyphenated versions of your domain name. Be careful though as there is no end to variants, add a word, create a plural….. my advice to the marketing teams of the brands I mange is to make sure you only use the main URLs that match the brand / product and not diversify. The more you diversify, the more you leave yourself and your customers open to cyber-squatters.

If your business is very regional then register the company/service name and the town in which you are based in order to make searches as local as possible. The best way to think through your domain name is to consider the process you have gone through when searching for something very specific and/or local and think about how you have had to refine your search to find a relevant result. By placing yourself in the position of your customers, you are best placed to succeed.

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If you want to start up a website must you have the .com?

When deciding on what extensions suit you it’s important to decide on your commercial strategy for both the short and longer terms. If possible, it’s sensible to secure more than one, so if you are a commercial entity that is setting up in the UK, then the and .com should be the two extensions that you should look to acquire as a bare minimum.

If someone has heard of you and wants to visit your website, then these are the extensions people are most familiar with and are most likely to try. Whilst the is the most familiar extension in the UK, it is closely followed by the .com. The .com can also open up doors internationally for you further down the line if you have aspirations to expand overseas.

Due to their popularity and profile .com domain names are becoming harder to get. However, there are other extensions that are rising in popularity such as the new global extension .co (Columbia) which allows geo-targeting in Google. However, do consider your website’s focus and audience and ask if you really need a .com? For example, if your business is an SMB with a local client-base and you have no desire to move into an international market, then your country code top-level domain (cctld) such as can be cost effective.

There are also specialist options that can be considered, for example if you are a charity or organisation then the and .org should be considered and if it is a personal venture and .me extensions are valid options. That, said it’s always advisable to acquire the .com if at all possible.

The number of domain extension purchases you may wish to make is also dependent on the level of brand protection you think you’ll need. This will come down to your enterprise and the likelihood that an unscrupulous third party may want to replicate your business model and piggyback off your success. The ‘Generics’ such as .com .org .net .biz and the new .co are all recognised internationally and there are no restrictions on their registration, so if you are serious about looking after your brand then it’s wise to take them off the market. If you do business internationally think about securing country extensions in ‘commercial areas of interest’ and secure these in order to protect yourself as far as possible.

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.xxx finally gets ICANN approval

The launch of the .xxx extension has been in discussion for a number of years, it has finally been given approval by the ICANN board.

Many see this as a controversial decision by the Board to approve an application to add “.xxx” to the list of top-level Internet domain (TLD) names. The applicant, ICM Internet registry, intends to make the TLD available to providers of adult entertainment. There has been opposition to the application from some governments and segments of the adult entertainment industry, but ICANN said the Board decision “shows the strength of the industry self-regulatory model that ICANN is all about.”

Even though no specific communications regarding the relevant registration regulation has been yet released, it is expected that registrations will commence by the end of 2011. I will keep you posted 🙂

.xxx is the suffix dedicated to adult entertainment world.

.xxx is interesting to clients that need to protect their brand, avoiding someone else the use of their name for something dealing with adult entertainment, potentially causing big damages to their image and brand identity.

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.jobs under threat?

ICANN has threatened to cancel the top-level .jobs domain registry operator’s contract.

Employ Media, who are the .jobs registry, risks losing its TLD if it does not shut down, a controversial jobs board operated by its partner, the DirectEmployers Association.

In a letter dated February 27, ICANN informs Employ Media that it has failed to establish policies that conform with the “intent and purpose” of the .Jobs Charter.

Copy of Letter below;


27 February 2011
Mr. Brian Johnson, General Counsel
Mr. Ray Fassett, EVP, Operations & Policy
Employ Media LLC
3029 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44115


Dear Messrs. Johnson and Fassett:
Be advised that as of and before 28 February 2011, Employ Media is in breach of its Registry
Agreement between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) and
Employ Media LLC (“Employ Media”). As explained below, this breach results from Employ Media and its sponsoring organization, the Society of Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) failure to establish policies, in conformity with the defined purpose and intent of the .JOBS registry; and further may be inconsistent with the .JOBS Charter for the naming conventions within the sponsored TLD and for requirements of registration as required by Section 3.1(d)(i)(A) of the .JOBS Registry Agreement.

Should Employ Media fail to cure this breach within 30 calendar days, ICANN may commence the termination process as set forth in Section 6.1 of the .JOBS Registry Agreement. To cure this breach, Employ Media must establish meaningful registration policies, in conformity with the .JOBS Charter, for the naming conventions within the sponsored TLD and for requirements of registration.

In addition to Employ Media’s breach of its Registry Agreement, Employ Media’s failure to operate and manage the .JOBS TLD in a manner consistent with the spirit and intention of the .JOBS registry and .JOBS Charter has substantially frustrated the primary purpose of the .JOBS Registry Agreement. We are calling on Employ Media to take immediate actions to implement restricted registration policies that support the purpose for which the .JOBS top-level domain was established, and to cancel registrations and/or disavow themselves of the benefits of any registrations that are owned by related parties, if any.

Failure to Establish Policies in Conformity with the Intent and Purpose of the .JOBS Registry and the .JOBS Charter

Pursuant to Section 3.1(d)(i)(A) of the .JOBS Registry Agreement, Employ Media is required to establish policies, in conformity with the Charter, for the naming conventions within the sponsored TLD and for requirements of registration, consistent with Section 3.1(g). In Section 3.1(g) of the .JOBS Registry Agreement, ICANN acknowledges that Employ Media engaged SHRM, as the sponsoring organization for the TLD, to carry out the responsibilities associated with the development of policies for the .JOBS TLD. Pursuant to Part II of Appendix S of the .JOBS Registry Agreement, SHRM is responsible for developing policies concerning the restrictions on what types of people or entities may register second-level domain names within the TLD.
Employ Media and SHRM failed to establish any meaningful restrictions on what types of people or entities may register second-level domain names within the .JOBS TLD. By not establishing any meaningful restrictions on who may register second level registrations in the .JOBS TLD, Employ Media put in operation a TLD where anyone can register names, thus defeating the purpose for which the sponsored TLD came into existence. The lack of meaningful restriction on registrations is clearly set forth in the .JOBS Charter, which reads,
The following persons may request registration of a second-level domain within the .JOBS TLD:
* Members of SHRM; or
* Persons engaged in human resource management practices that meet any of the following criteria: (1) possess salaried-level human resource management experience; (ii) are certified by the Human Resource Certification Institute; (iii) are supportive of the SHRM Code of Ethics and Professional Standards in Human Resources Management…”

While seemingly restrictive to human resource management professionals, the above Charter language is specious. Anyone willing to pay the $40.00 membership fee to SHRM may become an associate member of SHRM, as there are no restrictions to membership, other than payment of annual membership fees. Accordingly, anyone can register a second-level domain name within the .JOBS sTLD, as long as they pay a $40.00 membership fee to SHRM to become an associate member.

There is not sufficient information to confirm that Employ Media or SHRM conducted a meaningful process for changing the registration criteria. The registration policy shift clearly represents a basic and fundamental change to the qualifications for registration which differ from the original intent and purpose of the .JOBS Registry Agreement and the Charter.

It is unclear from responses gathered from SHRM or Employ Media, whether a change to these registration policies was appropriately communicated within the community impacted by this change. It appears that the adjustments to registration policies was exploiting broad wording within the Charter to justify a fundamental change which inures benefit to SHRM and Employ Media, at the detriment of some participants of the human resources community, that did not have any way of understanding the broad nature of this category of registrations at the time of the application for the registry.

Pursuant to the .JOBS Charter, the TLD was “…established to serve the needs of the international human resource management community…” However, the specious restrictions established by Employ Media and SHRM regarding what types of people or entities may register second-level domain names within the .JOBS TLD do not serve the international human resource management community. Human resource management experience, skills nor education are required to become an associate member of SHRM nor is it required to register a second-level domain name within the .JOBS TLD. Conversely, the loose restrictions established by Employ Media and SHRM appear to exclusively serve the financial interests of Employ Media and SHRM.

Employ Media and SHRM’s failure to establish policies in conformity with the .JOBS Charter for the naming conventions within the sponsored TLD and for requirements of registration, consistent with Section 3.1(g) is a breach of the .JOBS Registry Agreement.

To cure this breach, Employ Media, through its sponsoring organization, SHRM, must develop and implement meaningful restrictive policies in conformance with the .JOBS Charter regarding what types of people or entities may register second-level domain names within the .JOBS TLD. These registrations policies must serve the needs of the international human resource management community.

ICANN is concerned that Employ Media and SHRM are not operating and managing the .JOBS TLD in a manner consistent with the spirit and intent of the .JOBS Charter. The .JOBS Charter clearly states that the TLD will be established to serve the needs of the international human resource management community.

The recently launched appears to be a job board that advertises job openings for multiple employers. It is our understanding that one registrant, who is a member of SHRM, registered forty thousand second-level domain names in the .JOBS TLD for use on this job board. It appears that Employ Media and SHRM, through the Direct Employers Association, intend to use the .JOBS TLD primarily to compete with other internet job boards. Such use is inconsistent with the purpose stated in the .JOBS Charter and represented to the ICANN community. As opposed to numerous, international, human resource management professionals registering second-level .JOBS domain names, it appears one US-based registrant is registering thousands of second-level .JOBS domain names. These registrations appear to serve the interests of the registrant or company causing the registrations, as well as Employ Media and SHRM rather than the interests of the human resource management professionals.

Employ Media and SHRM’s failure to establish policies, in conformity with the defined purpose and intent of the .JOBS registry is inconsistent with the .JOBS Charter for the naming conventions within the sponsored TLD and for requirements of registration as required by Section 3.1(d)(i)(A) of the .JOBS Registry Agreement, and such other relevant sections of the agreement.

As previously stated, ICANN may, pursuant to Section 6.1 of the .JOBS Registry Agreement, terminate the Registry Agreement before its expiration if the stated breach is not cured within 30 calendar days after ICANN gives notice of breach.

We are calling on Employ Media to take immediate actions to implement restricted registration policies that support the purpose for which the .JOBS top-level domain was established, and to cancel registrations and/or disavow themselves of the benefits of any registrations that are owned by related parties, if any. ICANN specifically reserves the right to pursue any and all remedies relating to the above or other breaches in addition to the breach enumerated above, and nothing herein shall be deemed a waiver of that right.

If you have any questions regarding the above, please feel free to contact me directly, or contact Stacy Burnette, Director of Contractual Compliance at Stacy.Burnette (at)
CC: Stacy Burnette, ICANN Amy Stathos, ICANN

Letter signed by John O. Jeffrey (General Counsel & Secretary)

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I see an IP problem?

No…. Not really.
There is a lot of hype and doomsday nonsense about IP addresses running out and the internet becoming exhausted.

It’s fine, the current system of IP addresses is IPv4 (version 4), it is exhausted but guess what… the Geeks have been busy and there is a new version all ready to go live (even is in a few cases)..

What is IPv6?
The IP (the Internet Protocol) is one of the most important protocols for modern computing networks, including the Internet. It is responsible for identifying each machine on the network by a unique address (the IP address) and routing packets of data from their source to the correct destination machine through this addressing. The current version of the IP protocol being used is IPv4 (IP version 4).

So why do we need IPv6?
The current structure of an IP (IPv4) address is 4 numbers ranging between 0 and 255, each separated by a dot. You will have seen something like this when setting up your DSL, an IPv4 address is made up of 32 binary digits (bits). The maximum number you can make with 32 bits is 4.3 billion (2 raised to power 32).
Every device connected to the Internet should have a unique IP address – no two machines can have the same address. So this means that the Internet can theoretically hold only 4.3 billion connected devices, that’s a lot of devices, but when you think of the modern world with multiple computers in homes, smart phones, pda’s and even internet connected fridges, it’s not going to last long. The remaining IPv4 addresses are dwindling and considering the amount of user computers, hosts and other devices that are connected on the Internet, we will run out of IP addresses in the not too distant future.

The limitations of IPv4 and the explosion of Internet connected devices has led to the development of a new version of IP called IPv6 (IP version 6). There was an IPv5 but that was purely for research and was never deployed. IPv6 is the version that is ready to be deployed over the whole Internet and be adopted by all devices, connected Internet and networks. IPv6 brings many improvements, mainly in the number of machines that can be accommodated on the Internet

IPv6 explained
IPv6 addresses consists of 128 bits, allowing an astronomical number of devices. This is equivalent to the value of 2 raised to the power of 128, that’s very nearly 40 trailing zero’s.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking, that’s a massive number! However, this has been solved – IPv6 addresses have rules to compress them. First, the numbers are represented in hexadecimal instead of decimal numbers. Decimal numbers are numbers from 0 to 9. Hexadecimal numbers result from the grouping of bits in 4, giving the following characters: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F. An IPv6 address is made up of these characters. Since the bits are grouped in 4, and IPv6 address will consist of 32 characters.
An example of an IPv6 address is fe80:240:d0ff:fe48:4672.
This one has only 19 characters – there has been some compression, we will cover that in a later blog post. Note that the separator has changed from the dot to the colon.

IPv6 brings more improvements over the current IPv4 system such as better security and auto configuration on routers, as well as solving the problem of dwindling IP addresses.

Switching from IPv4 to IPv6
The day when IPv4 will no longer be viable is coming and now that IPv6 is around, the biggest challenge is to make the transition from IPv4 to IPv6. This is a massive task.

World IPv6 day is scheduled for 8 June 2011, it is a global-scale test flight of IPv6 sponsored by the Internet Society. On World IPv6 Day, major web companies and other industry players will come together to enable IPv6 on their main websites for 24 hours. The goal is to motivate organizations across the industry — Internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies — to prepare their services for IPv6 to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 address space runs out.

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During the initial release of reserved and short .uk domain names such as and we received a large number of calls from customers who had been confused and wanted to register directly under the .uk extension.

We have spoken to Nominet (the lovely Stuart) about this subject and the structure of the Register is historical, the different extensions were originally intended to aid Registrants and visitors to find a domain / company they needed; is for commercial operations is for organisations is for individuals is for network providers.

Nominet recognise that over time these lines have become blurred and whilst they are not opposed at opening up registrations directly under .uk – they have publically said that ‘any business case received to open up registrations directly under the .uk extension, would have to be in the interest of what is best for the UK internet’.

Let’s imagine Nominet opened up the .uk and allowed registrations directly under it. How would it be released?

Would Intellectual property holders that exactly matched the domain name be able to register first?

Would they allow people with the corresponding to submit their applications first?

Would they open it up on a first come, first served basis?

If you could suddenly register under a .uk what affect would that have on the existing and domain names?

As the 2nd largest Country code Registry (behind .de Germany, which only has one extension to choose from), with over 9 million domains registered, any changes would have to be considered on merit and whilst it ‘may’ happen in the future, at this stage the negatives far out-way the positives.

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DNS Geeked down… Kelly style

There are guys (!) that I work with that think I shouldn’t cover Geeky topics on this blog… they don’t think people are interested? I beg to differ, I’m interested and I’m confident that if people had the chance to have it explained simply, without all the jargon, then stuff like DNS wouldn’t be so confusing and we’d stop switching off when people started talking about it.

When I first started, DNS was this ‘bunch of numbers’ that all I knew was, if you got it wrong….. everything went down and nothing would work. I went no-where near it for a long time. But as people kept asking me stuff, I decided to check it out. Hence (which is quite common now), I sauntered upstairs into the system administrators world, walked up to the guys and said…. “Guys, this DNS stuff, geek me up!”

We started small, baby steps, one part at a time. After each explanation, I’d make them draw me pictures, go away, saunter back up and ask more questions… pretty soon it had me hooked.

DNS geeks, look away now…..

1) DNS – is short for Domain Name System, it associates various information with your domain name.

We all know what a ‘domain name’ is. Mine for this blog is

So, let’s look at my domain name;

The first thing you need to do to look at the DNS (bunch of technical stuff) of a domain name is do a whois (, this will give you who the registrant details, provider and basic information that you should need to know.

The parts for this I’m interested in is the ‘Name servers’

   Registrar: REGISTER.IT SPA
   Whois Server:
   Referral URL:
   Name Server: NS0.PHASE8.NET
   Name Server: NS1.PHASE8.NET
   Name Server: NS2.PHASE8.NET

The ‘Name servers’ are the place that holds all of the technical stuff that is needed to tell the internet where the information associated with your domain is held. So for me, mine is held on 3 different name servers (all of which hold identical copies) & – so why do I have 3 different name servers on my domain? Simple, technology is great, but sometimes things go wrong and it need attention or replacing. If the name server went down, my technical stuff would still be live on the other 2 name servers so everything would keep working as it, this is called in the geek world a ‘cluster environment’. Not all providers use 3 name servers, some use 2 (please never rely on 1), others can go up to 5…

So, lets look take DNS records one by one..

The first part I tackled was the ‘A record’ – in normal language this just means the ‘address’ – this is where your website (hosting) is. You domain name should have 2 A records as a minimum, one for when people type into the internet and also one for when someone types into the internet (the one without the www. in front is often refereed to as the blank record).        A         A 

Most people forget to do both, but it’s becoming more common that people don’t bother typing the www. bit (we’re all too busy). You will find that if people are using ‘Firefox’ as their internet browser, the fact that you’ve forgotten to do both is not that important, as currently it makes the assumption for the customers. However, Google Chrome doesn’t and there is no guarantee that Firefox will continue to do this, better to be safe.

The next thing I tackled was MX records – in normal language this is ‘mail exchange’ – (where your email provider is). Ideally your domain name should have more than one MX record, just in case one of the mail servers you are using is down or busy, most tend to have 3 that I come across.

MX records can be set up in a number of ways, it’s important to know that when you type in the records you never put the www bit before your domain name, this is because in an email address you never have the www ……

Examples;        MX           Priority 10        MX           Priority 10

In this example there are 2 mail servers set up, each with the same priority (10). This means that any emails will ’round robin’ between the two destinations and if one doesn’t work it will go to the other one.        MX           Priority 10        MX           Priority 20        MX           Priority 30

In this example there are 3 mail servers set up, each with a different priority. This means that any emails will first try the one with priority ’10’, it will always favor this one first, if this is busy or not working it will move to the address at priority ’20’ and again if not successful to the address at priority ’30’.

If you have your own mailserver you may put;        MX           Priority 10

but then will need to be created separately (this is a subdomain) and that would need an A record….

There are other records apart from A & MX that can be created. This is as far as I went in stage 1 of my ‘geek up’. It’s a good place to stop, so I’ll do the same and later on I’ll tackle the world of CNAME records…. :@)

Special thanks need to go to guys that have made me a DNS geek.. Nathan, James, Ben, JT and Rich.. You had the patience of saints :@)

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Do we need more extensions?

Most of you have probably heard about the proposed ICANN relaxation of rules allowing applications of new domain name extensions. This has been ongoing for a number of years and there is a part of me that actually thinks… is this actually going to happen?

ICANN plans to start accepting applications for new gtlds in 2011, not earlier than Q2. Hundreds to thousands of the applications are expected out of 4 groups:
–          Brands
–          Communities
–          Geographic group – cities and regions
–          Generic terms

Once the New gtld program is launched, ICANN estimates to receive approx. 500 applications on the initial roll out.

Applications from everyone – cities, communities, companies, individuals ready to be filed include:

The initiative for the top-level domain .berlin is supported by several companies, organisations, associations and individuals. With the new namespace .berlin the regional identity for the Berlin community will be created. Similar applications are for .london, .nyc, .london, .roma, .paris etc.

The initiative for the top-level domain .gay is supported by dotGAY, non profit organization headquartered in Palm Springs, USA. .GAY will be a top level domain for Gay community around the world. Domain names like,, can then be registered.

.cym will stand for the Welsh cultural and linguistic community.

.shop will be a new gtld for e-commerce, endorsed by GMO Registry.

.music is the proposed domain extension representing the global music community, it has received over 800,000 signatures from fans for gathering support to release the .music gtld.

.radio is endorsed by BRS Media, which is the current registry of .fm domain names.

.horse dedicated to horse lovers and many others!
It’s not going to be cheap though if you are already starting to think of new extensions…

Fees for new Gltds:
Application fee 185.000 USD
Minimum yearly ICANN fee 25.000 USD
Technical structure for new gtld management – in-house (costs can reach 1 mil. USD) or outsourcing (agreement with existing registry to use their services)
Operation and administration, legal, marketing fees

So what will it mean?

At the moment I’m reserving my judgment. This move will either revolutionize the way the internet is categorize or create an absolute nightmare for  brands that need to protect their online identity and customer experience. I am already telling the clients I work with that it is prohibitively expensive to register every extension and to focus on the key geographical areas of interest. It’s already impossible to prevent breaches of a brand, add a word on the brand name, create a plural, pick a mis-spelling…

I will blog on this in the future, but with reports of the Church approaching ICANN to ask them to leave religion (.GOD) out of this, the Olympics also reportedly having similar concerns and now Governments around the world raising objections, who knows if it will finally happen.

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What Is ICANN?

I’m going to touch on this as I’ll be referring to ICANN throughout this blog, I’ll also be posting shortly on the ICANN proposal to relax the restrivtions on allowing new extensions.

To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer – a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn’t have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. ICANN doesn’t control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn’t deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet.

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The ‘mobile’ internet .mobi

I stumbled across an interesting article at the end of last year from dotMobi, I wanted to share it as there is a lot of news being released at the moment from retailers about their strong growth online and, on a personal level I have suddenly become obsessed with being able to buy and browse from my phone. I no longer switch the laptop on when I leave the office at night, If I can’t get it from a website through the phone, I search until I find a website that I can..

The 2010 dotMobi study has stated that the mobile Web is continuing its explosive global growth. The 2008 study showed 150,000 mobile-ready websites, while the 2010 study showed approximately 3.01 million sites, representing an incredible two-year growth of more than 2,000 percent. And that growth level significantly outpaces early desktop growth.

Web analysts Netcraft found that, between 1996 and 1998, the size of the desktop Web grew from 150,000 sites to 2.0 million sites, a growth rate of only 1,333 percent compared to the mobile Web’s 2,000 percent growth in the equivalent time frame.

“Many brands and businesses are seeing that mobile is a vital, unique channel and not just a smaller desktop Web. Big brands are now adopting mobile Web strategies, but we still have a long way to go, given the ubiquity of mobile phones compared to computers,” said Trey Harvin, CEO of dotMobi.  “A recent Morgan Stanley report noted that the ‘mobile internet is ramping faster than desktop internet did and will be bigger than most think’. Businesses of all sizes need to prepare for the change in how people will access content by embracing the mobile Web.”

“Small business owners must engage their growing mobile audience as large brands have. Tools like Dreamweaver and WordPress enabled this to happen on the desktop Web by making site creation fast, easy and cheap. Developments like jQuery Mobile, DeviceAtlas and goMobi are now making this happen for the mobile Web,” added Harvin.

Full report here;

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