With the recent ability to insert images into your .tel domain, small business owners have been able to include coupons and offers for the past couple of months. These are generally displayed as banners.
With TelView, owners now have the added capability to have their coupons show up on the map. Although there is yet to be a standard set for the discovery of coupons, we can still show them in TelView. The big advantage to the .tel owner is that there is NO ADVERTISING COST and in addition, you control when you place offers – in real-time. The push is near-instant, taking less than 5 minutes to propagate the DNS (internet). The community learns about offers in minutes.
Here's a live example as found via TelView. It's just an experiment as there is no standard yet for storing coupons. This might just be one implementation – many are possible, as are display formats.
Tel is now literally "on the map" with the introduction of TelView (www.TelView.co and sister site www.OnTheMap.tel). TelView is a free app that lets communities see what is around them in real-time. No longer is .tel just a single point of contact, it now enables small business .tel owners to control their advertising costs and push timely information to their consumers. TelView shows the viewer what .tel-specific businesses and services are near to them and what offers they have. TelView is a conceptual application, waiting on standards to be further developed into a full-fledged tool.
When you think about it, Telpages (www.telpages.com) is a repository of great information but it isn't used or known. So instead of searching, maybe the better way is to use Tel domains as the vehicle for pushing local information to consumers, where anything that needs to be found or disseminated could be found at .tel sites in real-time in the consumers vicinity. That way viewers find local stores, products, services, coupons, offers and more through both mobile and browser apps that would be developed by Telnic and/or the community. And it would appeal to SMB because the cost is a miniscule $10-$20 per year compared to hundreds and thousands for YP listings. Helping SMB reduce advertising costs is one aspect of TelView. The other is discoverability.
When you look at TelView, what we are trying to do is make any .tel a dominant vehicle for displaying local information without the need for advertising. This puts the SMB owner in control at all times.
A Killer App for Critical Mass
Visualization of tel data is a killer app – these apps can be developed quickly and cheaply and given away to promote tel. The ability to show live, local information will sell itself to SMB and when promoted locally by the owners themselves, should go a long way to exposing .tel and gaining the critical mass we need. With an arsenal of visual apps, one can easily sell .tel to SMB.
OnTheMap/TelView is a prototype project with a simple HTML5 mapping app. HTML5 is device independent and is fast becoming the new web standard. For the short term HTML5 could be used. However, since mobile apps are more robust, ideally mobile versions should be developed. Visualization apps must be free to use and freely distributed. Given some standards and tools, the community can certainly enhance the apps.
To take full advantage of visualization, we need some standards. These must be thought out carefully, however shouldn't impede progression of visualization apps. This is an open call to Telnic and the community to set the standards and create additional infrastructure to support this initiative.
Discovery Optin: to permit the display of a site in any certified visualization tool, the owner designates whether or not to have their site appear visually in approved tools. SMB will set theirs to true, because they want discovery by app users. Individuals may not want to be displayable.
Originator:true indicates the site is the true source of real-time information, ie the owner of the information. Directories that replicate information are not originators so should set false. This sets a priority for display. This will allow a tool to show the single real-time source, as currently multiple icons show up that are not originators, ie directories with geo links. If no other original source is available, then a non-originating source would be displayed instead. Directory owners who set the originator field to true just to compete locally can be easily negated by having the apps default to a do not display subdomains filter. Most owners will place their information on the main page for visibility. Directory owners cannot do that. TelView already has such an option.
Primary Category: ISO is best matching against existing directory (YP, etc) keywords that people are familiar with. From a drop down list. The tool would match icons to categories. I currently have code to match some domains against 800 Google mapping icons but code is not the long term answer. Perhaps a simpler set of categories could be created (with alternate languages as needed) to accommodate most common services people search for.
Custom map icon: a URL to override a default icon selected by the app. Has to be validated as 40 pixels or less, since Google maps will accept anything so we need a standard. Having a simple drop down of common icons eg shoes, bakery, taxi shouldn't be confusing for the average Joe, especially when visualization is promoted.
Display Standards: for map visualization elements such as balloon caption and preview panel contents.
Coupon Storage and Display: Support at least two new search keyword TXT types 'cpn' and 'cpnx' for coupons. CPN indicates the type of coupon attached to the (sub)domain. CPNX would be a timestamp for coupon expiration. The coupon itself would an ad image record. So the cpn value would be 1-6 matching the ad record types. This would indicate which tel image to render in the app. Alternatively, and more desirable, maintain a new tel ad image subtype 7 for coupon image of 250×250 size.