Don’t Tell Dot Tel
The Birth of a Top Level Link Farm
ICANN Tel You
To be honest, I really can’t tell you if I am completely on board with the new .tel registry, the latest sponsored Top Level Domain to go live on the lucrative domain market. One thing I do know is that this is the first TLD that has only one IP, 22.214.171.124. It is also the first TLD to have complete control over DNS, or Domain Name System, as well as layout and syntax of webpages and mobile content. Google has already indexed 643 .tel sites as of Feb 3rd. Live has 4.060 and Yahoo has not indexed any .tel domains at all. ICANN initially rejected the .tel sTLD RFP (there were in fact two proposals from different organizations), but were somehow convinced of .tel’s proof of concept in the end.
Tel Is About Communications
The idea behind .tel is to bring all of your contact information into one place: your address, email, phone, website, Facebook profile, the list really does go on. It’s one place to store, update, and provide your details to your colleagues, friends, and family, and it has that catchy three letter, one syllable suffix. Web 2.0 Badges and applications are in the works, and it is supposed to bring innovative technology to the fore with it’s all in one stored DNS, and content for web and mobile markets. The business seems sound, normal users will be charged about $20 a year for the rights to their own .tel domain and cookie cutter layout. With this subscription plan, Telnic’s single IP is probably paid for already, and so is their application fee to ICANN. This has the makings of a potential huge buyout, if the business model proves successful.
This is where my questions begin.
.Tel Is About Linkspam
It’s early in the landrush, the early registration phase of the new TLD, and there are already some “spammy” domains in the Google index. This is where Telnic, and ICANN lose me. The .tel pages are awash in links, links to websites, phones, social media. These links are all followed, I think you can see where I am going with this. I would be very shocked if this exact problem was not raised in the evaluation period. The problem is that thousands of pages are being created to potentially game the search engines through easily obtained, followed links. The easiest solution would be to nofollow the links. Telnic is going to have to act fast, or else the engines will act on their behalf. It would be a shame to see a whole registry being taken out of the search engines’ indexes, and it may not get that far, however I can see that a penalty will happen if nothing is done, sooner than later.
The Other .tel Question
I am also not convinced that a virtual address book alone can support an entire domain registry, that all the marketing plush will wear off and .tel is only a fad in the making. It’s a great idea, but not original. Routing information through DNS zones has been brought up before, in e164.arpa. This is the original idea of a web based ENUM lookup. In other words, this means being able to access telephone numbers over the internet. First out of the gate doesn’t always give way to exclusivity, and this is not necessarily a sticking point with me. My concerns are more on the marketing side, and my own personal bias toward the evolution of the TLD. Perhaps I am old school, but if I want to give someone my telephone number, website, or other details, I will tell them my telephone number, website, or email. The same is true the other way around. I don’t want to go to a page to get my contact’s information. This seems counter intuitive.
.Tel Must Be Thinking Mobile
What also seems counter intuitive is a small amount of content for a website page. Telnic must be thinking mobile, this is the only space where this formula makes any sense. Yet, how this business model made it all the way to its own TLD is a mystery. I really can’t tell.