Vodafone Transcoding and the User Agent Header

There’s a great thread going on in BetaVine including some real old-hands of the mobile web discussing Vodafone transforming the user agent presented in requests coming out of their transcoding systems. Much as I absolutely love Daniel, I have to disagree with his comment that getting involved in the W3C is a great way to influence stuff like this. I signed up for a bunch of the W3C lists when I started at AdMob, and the subscriptions lasted variously between 2 weeks and about 6 months, but in every single case resulted at best in a slight education on some esoteric topic. About as much education as if I would have picked up if I read a few pages in Wikipedia on the topic.

Overall I really think W3C has floated away from the real concerns of practitioners in the field. The first round of W3C stuff was great, because they came into a working environment and tried to consolidate and unify it. However the process has broken down now that they’re trying to expand usage and introduce new policies and mechanisms. The way to drive the evolution now is to build stuff, release it, get feedback, and iterate. Trying to sit everyone down and decide on what should be built next I have very little hope for. The open source model, that’s been working pretty well for the stuff that I’ve seen working.

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3 Responses to Vodafone Transcoding and the User Agent Header

  1. Nigel C says:

    I have a feeling that Vodafone is hijacking the mobile web experience and steering the W3C for their own benefit and the detriment for all mobile web publishers…
    We need to push back… HARD. They are playing the game of deferring to an organization that has a high barrier of entry (membership fees) and they want to dominate the field by disrupting the fundamental technology.

  2. Pingback: Mike Rowehl: This is Mobility » Blog Archive » Vodafone and the Mobile Web

  3. Pingback: Vodafone’s Heavy-Handed Transcoder at Wap Review

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