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News
San Francisco, March, 2009
GERBSMAN PARTNERS UPDATE - R.I.P. Dot Com. We barely Knew Ye! - Welcome the new sheriff in town the .TEL

Scott Smith is a professional domainer and President of TelCartel (www.telcartel.com), a registered reseller of domains which specializes in the distribution and promotion of .tel domains. Telnic is the registry for .tel (www.telnic.com).

The late 90's ushered in one of the most prominent "they were the best of times, they were the worst of times" eras the world has seen. The widespread acceptance of the then infant Internet as a creditable place to do business underpinned a modern day gold rush of epic proportions. Millions of new "surfers" went online and quickly became intoxicated by the ease at which they could communicate and buy and sell goods and services online. The true Internet boom had begun. Billions of dollars of profits were generated, seemingly out of thin air, as entrepreneurs exploited the power bestowed on them by fat cat venture capitalists and few well-chosen letters to the left of the dot in "dot com". The Internet went mainstream and the dot com TLD extension was quickly established as the 800 lb. gorilla with domain names often changing hands for multi-millions of dollars.

But as is often the case, in a relative heartbeat, in March of 2000, the boom … bust. The bubble burst.

Poof.

Since then, with lessons learned, the rebuilding began. Over the last nine years generations of people have ingrained the progeny of the Internet into the fabric of their daily lives. One would be hard pressed to find someone who has never heard of, or are members one or more of MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and hundreds of other social networks. Add to that all of the associated tubes, mash-ups, wikis, rss feeds, IMs, iTunes, text messages, tweets, blogs, pokes, flickrs, smileys, screen names, passwords, phone numbers and the like, it's no wonder we're submerged (or sinking) in a dysfunctional communications funk. We're in a virtual communications Armageddon!

Surely there is a way to simplify this whole communications mess?

Enter the dot com killer. Welcome simplicity. Welcome Dot-tel.

Dot-tel (.tel) is the new kid on the block, the new ICANN approved TLD that will revolutionize the way we communicate. .tel will push the boundaries of communications and the internet to the next level, putting the power back into the hands of the individual when it comes to using and sharing contact information.

.tel domains enable you to store contact information, keywords and location information and to publish it to the internet quickly and securely without having to build a website.

Henri Asseily CTO and Chief Strategist at Telnic, the. tel registry, is widely quoted today saying,

"This fundamental change in the use of the internet will break open the ability for anyone to now own a domain and be found from any device. This is the biggest innovation to hit the internet and communications and it seems fitting that we have achieved this on the 133rd anniversary of the first use of the telephone. From today, people will be able to dial a .tel name to connect with people. The future of communications is now wide open to innovation."

Skeptics may chime in saying that - "What do you expect from the COO of Telnic, surely they are going to sing the praises of their new product. They need to push a ton of domains to recoup their multi-year, multi-million dollar investment"

That may be so. But here are only a few reasons why I think that .tel will be a smashing success:

  • .tel domains are unique: .tel is the only TLD extension designed from the ground up link directly to contact information stored in the DNS
  • .tel domains save money: .tel domains do not require websites to be built and hosted and aside from annual renewals, there are no fees for ongoing maintenance and development
  • .tel domains are easy to use: a .tel domain can be populated within minutes with all types of contact information, including the use of premium rate telephone numbers, payment via SMS premium rate short codes for content downloads and links to e-commerce sites ranging from third-party hosted auction pages through to fully-fledged e-commerce shops
  • .tel domains will be difficult to cybersquat: .tel domains can only be registered by registrants who provide at least one piece of verifiable contact information. Violators can quickly be identified and actions undertaken by the appropriate authorities
  • .tel domains have already been purchased by the big players: The New York City Police, American Idol, the X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, Australian Idol, Pop Idol, Star Academy, BBC, BSkyB, Virgin Media, ITV, Fox, CBS, Discovery, HBO, MTV, Canal+, the Movie Channel, Yellow Pages and thousands of major corporations from around the world.

I could go with many more examples but let me share the single biggest reason why I think .tel will, over time, leave all other domain extensions floundering in its wake.

I have been a professional domainer for nearly 10 years. I have witnessed and/or actively participated in all of the new domain releases dating back to the 2002 .US landrush (which NeuStar thoroughly cocked up), up to and including .biz, .info, .eu, .asia, .name, .asia, .me and dozens of others.

In all of my years of domaining I have never seen a registry so proactively reach out and engage their audience like Telnic has. Having taken a page from the respective books that made the MySpace's and the Facebook's of the world so wildly popular, Telnic is embracing the community, joining the blogs and forums, asking people for their input and feedback and actually following up on promises to make the changes that will make .tel more user-friendly and ultimately more valuable for everyone. Senior executives actually return phone calls and emails, often within minutes of being sent.

Let me repeat - they follow up. Man is that refreshing! Telnic makes many of the executives at some of the other registries (NeuStar, listen to your colleagues!), look like pikers.

I'll finish with this anecdote. The aforementioned Henri Asseily, COO of Telnic weighed in on a thread posted at www.telsters.com, one of the emerging, leading .tel forums, thusly. Henri answered the technical question posed and ended with this comment:

"Maybe once the community starts growing a bit we should have a simple poll."

That's it! Let's ask the community what they want and see if we can make it work. Pure genius.

After this next proclamation, it's highly likely that my fellow domainers will take up a collection to have the men in the white coats come and drag me off to the loony bin. But here goes…

I predict that within 4-6 years the .com TLD will be usurped from it's lofty perch and be forever supplanted by .tel or one of its innovative contemporary TLDs.

Scott Smith is a professional domainer and President of TelCartel (www.telcartel.com), a registered reseller of domains which specializes in the distribution and promotion of .tel domains.
Telnic is the registry for .tel (www.telnic.com).

About Gerbsman Partners

Gerbsman Partners focuses on maximizing enterprise value for stakeholders and shareholders in under-performing, under-capitalized and under-valued companies and their Intellectual Property. In the past 60 months, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in maximizing value for 51 Technology, Life Science and Medical Device companies and their Intellectual Property and has restructured/terminated over $770 million of real estate executory contracts and equipment lease/sub-debt obligations. Since inception, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in over $2.2 billion of financings, restructurings and M&A transactions.

Gerbsman Partners has offices and strategic alliances in Boston, New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Europe and Israel.

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