Sunday, April 26, 2009

Search and proxy stats

I'm working on a new search engine algorithm for searching .tel domains. It'll be rather unique and innovative. I don't think anyone has done it quite this way before. And I'm not forgetting the UI interface for gathering proxy statistics for the many of you who own .tel domains. It's coming.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mark just sent me this cool example of his on how to set up a .tel with user-generated content:

Check it out. One more example of what a .tel is: a personal, persistent and dynamic online contact data store.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The iPhone app is available

The free iPhone app is now available on the app store:
The iPhone app

You can use it to manage your .tel directly from your phone. frees you from using web-based tools to manage your .tel domains. Update your .tel domain before boarding a plane, on a road trip, or just to tell your friends which bar you're in.

- Publish your location with an embedded map
- Update your status
- Add, remove, hide or show contact information
- Add or remove folders and profiles
- Manage privacy settings
- Add or remove keywords

Also, as promised, the entire source code for the application is on the site.

Here's the svn browser direct link.

Enjoy, and please post a review of the app if you download it.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Navigation at the speed of DNS

We've been talking quite a bit about the speed of the DNS, and how .tel will make you rethink navigation.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and a movie worth 30 pictures a second. So here you go, my native .tel iPhone app called "Superbook" in action:

The app is currently being reviewed by Apple.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Response to

Fun blog post that I read with interest, from someone working for Vodafone:

Here are my thoughts, Terence:

I’m glad you won a free .tel domain and have had the chance to quickly and simply populate it, without developing or hosting a website. As you say, a completely different domain. But then you state:
.tel is yet another top level domain to go with all those other highly (/profitable/) popular ones. You know, like .biz, .museum, .info, etc.

I love that play on profitable/popular (in the original post, "profitable has a strikethrough), especially since .tel was designed so that it would be totally different from any other TLD: no websites, and therefore no parking pages, no ads, no redirects, no popup, popunders or malware. That was pretty clearly understood by the domainer community, whose more entrepreneurial members are building new revenue models based on communications services.

Now you think a conversation will go like this:
"Visit aitch-tee-tee-pee colon slash-slash edent dot tell... No... Tell. It's spelled TEA-EE-EL. Yes. Just one EL. No, I don't know why. Here, let me write it down for you on a little cardboard oblong..."

Here's how the real conversation goes, as I've had it happen at least a hundred times already with my domain that I've had for over a year:
"Contact me on"
"Oh? on the web?"
"sure. everything's there. phone, email, skype.."
"great, thanks"

And then the inevitable happens when I get an email from those people:
"I love your! so simple! Where can I get mine?"

Now compare that to:
"Got a pen? write down my number: 1-202-5551212"
"and what's your email?"
"oah yes, it's With an f, not a p-h"

Finally, you wonder about why it's so plain:
First of all, why not take a look at the site. [Snipped a whole discussion about how ugly it looks]... no panache, no style. Just dull dull dull text.

In your opinion it's dull. I guess that’s because you work for a mobile telecommunications company that wants people to spend lots of money downloading content over your mobile internet. Dull in this case means cheap, quick and accessible. Usability does not mean whizzy, colourful, mesmerizing – it means functional. When I want to contact you, I don't care about pretty pictures. I want to click-call as quickly as possible.
Sure I could have your info in my address book, but I'll never know if it's the right info. Getting it really fast from the Net is the way to do it. You can cache it (except for the iPhone not understanding vCard, but with a native app there's no problem), but that would be your choice.

Speaking of "pretty", the website you went to is simply a basic interface to the actual data stored in the DNS. You do not need the website to get to the data. A number of applications already understand .tel domains and go straight to the DNS to grab the data, making the whole idea of "pretty" totally moot. Your .tel is a personal, distributed and privacy-enabled datastore for your contact information. Not a website. Any connected device can read that datastore (because they read DNS) and display it any which way it wants. The website is just a convenience. A simple, quick and standardized convenience. In fact, you do not want the web if you can avoid it. It's slow and inefficient. Using one of the plug-ins for Blackberry or Outlook for example, they pop .tel data in your address book and cache it intelligently, and there's no need to download a static VCard that will get obsolete.

One thing you will have spotted however if you’ve done your research rather than a quick on-spec is that we listen to our users. We’ve tweaked and continue to tweak the interfaces for the web browsers. But because you’re sucking information from the DNS into a proxy page, this isn’t the be-all and end-all. We’ll continue to listen, even to members of the community who have guest passes and didn’t pay their money – including you Terence! Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts down and I hope you appreciate we read everything and try to respond where we can.

One more point I’d like to make in your comparison. SyncML depends 100% on having supported phones. What if I'm in front of a computer and I have my office phone? Or Skype? or a softphone (like Kiax for example The idea of a universal point of contact works when you've got the following features:

- ubiquitous access
- very fast
- very cheap if not free
- easily updated
- owned by you so that you're independent of any service providers

That is what ZYB can never be, and that is what .tel is. However, with an account on ZYB, you could easily update your .tel and sync to ZYB or vice versa. Use ZYB to push the SyncML data to who you want, but is significantly lower level, works pretty much every way, and is guaranteed to be yours even when Vodafone decides that ZYB should be discontinued for some reason.

Your .tel is your own personal, distributed datastore for your contact information, public or private, for as long as you decide.

I hope the above explains to you what we know that .tel is, and I hope you can now make a decision on whether to keep your .tel next year – keep your eyes open for updates however!