Luck seems to be running out for investors in .tel registry. And it hasn’t even launched yet.
A new top level domain, .tel, is getting ready to rollout in the first part of next year. The registry behind the domain — Telnic — has raised a stunning $35 million in outside capital before even launching the domain name.
.Tel isn’t a traditional domain name where you register it and then put up a parking page or web site. Instead, your .tel domain name is sort of like an online business card with your contact information. You don’t create a web site; it’s all hosted on the DNS. Essentially, .tel will be a yellow pages and white pages.
Here’s the problem. The concept behind .tel was created about a decade ago. That’s before MySpace, Facebook, and a myriad of other social networking technologies made it big. Telnic applied for .tel from ICANN back in 2000, according to a recent BusinessWeek article.
The top level domain finally got approved and now it has been rendered pointless.
Why should people pay to have a “business card on the web” when they can get a free one through a number of other sites?
There’s a network affect here. If everyone has a .tel domain name, the scheme will work. But right now no one has one, and the odds of more people signing up (and paying) for .tel than Facebook is minuscule. If I want to get in touch with someone, odds are better that I’ll find them searching on Facebook than going to someone.tel. (Incidentally, .mobi faces a similar challenge in trying to change behavior. It has to get to a critical mass — quickly — to succeed.)
The fact that your information is managed in the DNS is cool, but end users don’t care. They can’t tell the difference between someone setting up an online address book in the DNS versus on a web site.
Betting $35 million on Telnic is like saying “We’re going to create another cool social network. It will be limited in interaction, but we still need to get tens of millions of people to sign up. Invest $35 million in us on the outside chance we pull it off.”
But that obviously wasn’t the original pitch. Back in 2000 this was novel. But the TLD approval process at ICANN didn’t help Telnic’s chances. By taking so long to approve the application, time passed Telnic by. Now the new top level domain name process is launching, which means that anyone could launch a competing top level domain and launch it in a couple years’ time. And that TLD could be a lot cooler than a short hand term for an antiquated work like “telephone”.
There is a chance — however slight — that .tel will succeed. Telnic will have to do a few things perfectly to get this to work. First, make .tel integrate into third party applications better than Plaxo, LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace currently do. Second, it should give away .tel domains to individuals and hope to make money on businesses instead. It must get to critical mass quickly, so that I have a reasonable belief that typing in myfriend.tel will get me what I want. Third, it needs to pray that Facebook doesn’t kill it overnight by creating some sort of online vcard.
DR. DOMAIN says
No land rush from me. Not even a land stroll.
Rob Sequin says
It’s called a contact us page.
They will never get critical mass. Speculators will rush in and something like my.tel will sell for $10k but then it’s over.
Right up there (or should I say down there) with .pro .aero .travel etc.
My kids look at me blankly when I mention dot mobi (as they are calling up all sorts of websites on their iphones and ipods). I’m sure they would think dot tel is very old school as they go to update their Facebook page and send text messages to friends. I’ve just had to explain to the Yellowpages rep why my company is eliminating our Yellowpages advertising. Customers are finding us through our own efforts on our own websites. Sounds like I could have the same chat with dot tel.
Well at least they threw a good party in Cairo
ben leefield says
Finally – a sane article on the online address book market.
You can get a free online address book listing at WikiWorldBook. This enables you to be easily found via Google, and messaged via the website.
The website’s message gateway then allows users to be contacted without having to reveal their email address. After checking any messages for spam, the message system forwards on the messages to the registered user’s email account, so they don’t have to return to the site. Uniquely, the person contacting them doesn’t have to be registered, thus enabling people to reconnect as easily as possible.
Online address books are different from social networking sites which are walled gardens, so you have to be a member to make contact.
I think this article and the responses are missing the point about .TEL.
.TEL is a domain which connects to all communication methods. The technology behind it has many useful applications and has the potential to be enormous in my opinion.
The person that pointed out that there are contact us pages on website is confused by what .TEL offers. Take this scenario for example. It is the year 2015 and I am in my car trying to find the telephone number to my friend. Accessing his easy to remember .TEL is quicker than accessing a webpage and looking for the ‘Contact Us’ page. It is also easier to remember than remembering his telephone number.
Here are 31 reasons to consider when making a decision on this technology:
All they nay sayers on this thread completely miss the point.
.tel isn’t in competition with anything on the Internet today. There’s nothing like it. You simply can’t compare it to any existing domain service.
Those who suggest you use an existing online service ignore the fact your account is owned by that service, and that service can change the terms on you as they see fit. With .tel you own your record.
.tel owner says
Telnic is a group of Techies in desperate need of sales and marketing professionals before they even have a chance at real success.
First guy they need to dump is the useless Henri, a CTO they have flying around the planet acting as their number one sales professional…it’s NOT WORKING.
The need to face it, the domain is losing steam and the promise of a new way to communicate did not resonate. Better shift gears quick or prepare to wind up on the trash heap of domains.
Take this scenario for example. It is the year 2015 and I am in my car trying to find the telephone number to my friend. Accessing his easy to remember .TEL is quicker than accessing a webpage and looking for the ‘Contact Us’ page.
But that is completely wrong. If it is your friend, his phone number will be in your mobile phone.
Steam Bunjie says
You miss the entire point, anyone who has a brain invests in last names.
Those last names are an absolute gold mine, why? because once someone develops a site to offer the domain owner to put their last name .tel into a pool of last names offered up to an end user at $1+ per profile, the last name owner will pull in more then $1500+ year.
The model is simple and anyone should be able to work it out, if you read above you have people who have cried on the Telnic forums due to being banned for causing mayhem, and not understanding what future .tel has, so they go off trying to destroy things for everyone else.
It’s baby mentality! Grow up! you invested and invested wrong so stop crying and reinvest correctly.
This is the model it’s a phone book easy to understand?
You buy last names, so you buy aniston.tel
You offer the end user a first name profile, so perhaps her first name is Jennifer we get a first.last.tel page with forwarding email firstname.lastname@example.org.
So we end up with jennifer.aniston.tel paying $1 a year for a profile, with a forwarding email email@example.com
Now why would jennifer aniston want and need this?
Well because lets imagine jennifer.aniston needs to attend events in various online places to promote some new movie, now if she wanted to do some PR event in a virtual world or space or perhaps in a facebook 3D chat it would involve spending massive amounts of money to create her celebrity avatar for xx times the amount of places she needs to visit.
Now if she was given a profile page at jennifer.aniston.tel and we install an avatar that she or her publicist need only 1 passport photo to create the PRO3D avatar which she can take to every compatible 3D facebook event or 3D chat or even a virtual world.
Then it’s worth it to her because she only will ever need to login with her sub profile .tel id.
Telnic can do this by working with DAZ3D.com the world leaders for 3D avatars and avatar content
And install http://www.digimi.com/newsite/presite/home.jsp full 3D avatars from a single photo.
As for normal end users, everyone will want an avatar and online profile because to be without it means they must constantly remake a new avatar on a per service basis.
Now take a look at Second Life who is working on a 3D embedded version for facebook, and you should imagine that if the end user had a first.last.tel they could use in Second Life and other facebook games just by logging in, then it would make billions for facebook in avatar content through a daz3d multi-branded marketplace.
And FYI .tel is not loosing Steam, if we’re going to play the pun game? let’s play!
Then I must say Hello, I’m Steam known as an in Second Life developer/second life mentor currently working on behalf of DAZ3D’s forum administrator and in-world estate manager on rebuilding DAZ Island.
I know DAZ3D, I know Telnic, and I know Second Life and what’s possible is not impossible to push for.
Dear Steam Bunjie,
I am very much convinced that TEL domain is a disaster, and I was speaking on that since 6 months, until TELNIC decided to block me on their public forum, and to remove any complaints from their public support forum on GetSatisfaction.Com.
Now, you have said that last names are a good investment.
You see, in the real world, to offer any investment, one has to have founded facts, statistics, examples, research and to show that investment is really working.
Your calculation looks attractive.
But the final result or final test is: does it work?
So, let me know if there is anyone making money on last names with TEL domains?
1) you have to be a member of facebook, twitter, what have you to get info.
2) these sites have friend caps and yes some people need to go over those.
3)Do you really want to have to sign up to all these places? Sure its ok for family and friends but for business purposes?
4) these places are not private nor professional.
5) Companies and businesses also can join under 1 tel. Some run city directories, hotel directories, bar directories. with telnic search you can find all you need while out and about either in your local city or on vacation without having to go all over the web and fickle search engines that show results based on their ratings.
6) If a main website is down this is a perfect backup for contact info.
7) Some sites contact info is so chaotic and put under certain sections, have a clear contact directory is so much more efficient.
8) Other info can be stored there or a link directing to info. IE: Links to an idividual’s profiles, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, SteamPowered, EA, Second Life, other game and social profiles, Deviant Art, ArtZone, Elfwood, other places where that person has work examples or portfolio.
All in all? One stop shop and easy way to gather ones info.
All have all my info under a sub domain of a tel and one is a link to my Store on xstreetsl and yes I do get traffic through there.
@KilynnTor — hmm, you try to “sell” the idea of TEL domain being superior over “other” tools such as Facebook?
Not a good idea.
First, I am owner of almost 200 TEL domains, and I have so far the most sophisticated software for management of TEL domains, TEL advertising and other features. I am programmer and I know TEL domains very well. Personally I have use for them, but as a matter of fact, it was a mistake, as I could register bunch of .INFO domains and have 1000% more of the benefits than I get from the very limited TEL domain.
Your statement comparing TEL domains to communities such as Facebook is bullshit.
Try finding your long time not seen friends on TEL domain, and try finding them on Facebook.
You should not compare 200,000 TEL domains owned by maybe ONE QUARTER of that number, maybe 50,000 TEL domain owners, to the Facebook, having millions of users. It is not comparable. Not yet. Not now. Not in 10 years.
TEL is the WORST idea ever invented in TLD business.
It does not even work on the mobile phone as it should. It shows just some ugly page. Someone was working to have it ugly.
Don’t try to delude people. TEL is usable, but .INFO is usable as well. MOBI, COM and NET and even .COM.PA is usable.
TEL offers to people basic Internet presence. We cannot speak of “mobile” presence, because their marketing is simply wrong and false.
Even Google Site looks pretty well on mobile phone in comparison to TEL domain.
Mike Seaton says
ICANN is now considering whether Telnic should be allowed a renewal of the .TEL Registry – for public comments see https://forum.icann.org/lists/comments-tel-renewal-04aug16