Three is the magic number!
Welcome to the latest .tel community newsletter, which this month coincides with our third anniversary of launching .tel in General Availability.
In this issue, we've covered off some surprising statistics and fascinating facts about .tel around the world within our infographic below. We're also pleased to feature some more members of the .tel community who have been in touch with us to tell their stories.
One of the many uses for a .tel is to run a directory service that enables people to access business information quickly, affordably and simply on a mobile device. We recently interviewed a number of .tel directory providers and hope that you also find this article of interest.
As well as this, you'll find some more hints and tips, more customer stories and the latest features in .tel. Do drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to send any feedback or share your story with the community.
Video: coming to a .tel near you!
This month, we'll be updating the .tel service to enable one video per .tel page to be added and played within the page. This will be available for both the desktop and the mobile proxy pages.
Recent statistics from the USA highlighted the massive growth in online video spend and usage.
Once released, in-page video play can only be set up by using the APIs, not via the control panel. Alternatively, there are several organisations offering free and paid-for third party service to help you enhance your .tel's look and feel. For more information and to chat to these providers, why not join in the .tel community forum at http://telnic.org/forum
Finnish and Turkish support added to .tel pages
In line with recent partnerships and developments, we're pleased to say that we updated the .tel service this quarter so that Finnish and Turkish are now both supported on the proxy page. This brings the number of languages that will automatically translate key information such as headers and actions (i.e. all information that is systematically chosen rather than free text or user-defined content) to 15.
With customers in 181 countries, from Aruba to Zambia, .tel is a truly international service, and we'll continue to add further language support as usage increases around the world. However, with all of the top 10 most-used languages covered off, accounting for over 1.6 billion internet users, there shouldn't be a problem of information getting lost in translation when visiting a .tel today.
Contact Items: what's supported?
We sometimes get asked from .tel users new and experienced about the type of contacts that can be added to a .tel page. To show the variety of contact items that can be used we've created an example page at http://full.yourname.tel. This shows the wealth of both contact information and keywords that can be added to a .tel.
In addition to setting up contact details by the type of communications method (e.g. phone, email, Skype etc) you can also, if you wish, indicate the "location" of that contact item. For example, you may have numerous phone numbers on your .tel. The "Location" dropdown allows you to show that one is a mobile number, one a work number and another a home number.
Web links can be inserted on your .tel by selecting the "web page" contact item. Some links will even automatically display the site icon when added. The full list of icons which can be displayed are shown at http://icons.yourname.tel. To avoid the user leaving your .tel page when clicking on a web link these have been automatically set to open in a new window. Should you wish to link to a .tel we have created a specific contact type for this - "go to a .tel". Unlike web links, this displays as a link to a .tel folder and opens in the same window. If you have multiple .tel addresses you can transfer users between them seamlessly using this method.
From Zygon to clocks: time management .tel-style
I am Simon Crow, the founder of what is now the Zygon Group, based in London. My academic training was as an Engineer but in reality I have been involved in the science [sic] of Management for the best part of my working life. Zygon is a management consultancy, now operating internationally.
Zygon Consulting was originally started in 1994 as a single-person management consultancy - me; since then we have grown and advised many UK businesses, across most industry sectors. Now, as a business, our future revenue is dependent on three things; our reputation, our marketing strategy and how easily we can be found by prospective clients.
Whilst the majority of our business is generated by referrals from existing happy clients, we also promote our businesses through marketing campaigns. A strong web presence is essential, in support of the marketing effort, for capturing prospective clients and for generating new leads and opportunities.
So, how does .tel come into the story? I became aware of the proposed Telnic scheme towards the end of 2008. It immediately struck me as a brilliant idea! The idea, of using a single and simple domain name giving instant online access to all personal and business contact data, struck me as just brilliant. Early in 2009, I acquired zygon.tel for business use, and crow.tel for my personal use. I now have just a single, small business card which shows my business and personal .tels. Just that. Nothing else.
For us at Zygon, the main benefit of having a .tel is: Contacts, Contacts, Contacts. The ability of prospective clients to easily contact us is paramount. In fact, I need to be easily reachable by all our clients; and the .tel is the way to do it. Hence, now on every page of our website there is a link to our .tel domain.
Now semi-retired, I have much reduced my time in supporting our Zygon UK clients. Currently I have two ongoing clients, enabling me to keep in touch with the 'real world'. But now for something completely different!
I am actively establishing a new small business in a very different field - antique English wall clocks. Naturally, I have secured a suitable .tel for the new enterprise. This .tel will be a vital tool to help promote the new business.
By the numbers
Found, from wineries to warehouses
From the rarified world of French wines through to the main street commerce of franchise restaurants and warehouses, .tel is helping build the mobile-optimized directory business of the future. It's not just large yellow page companies that are implementing .tel. We interviewed some pioneers in the community who've been building their own .tel directories.
As our third anniversary infographic shows, the most visited .tel domain for the second year running is a directory. Avtovokzal.tel is, according to one third-party site, a growing empire with daily visits exceeding the population of Vatican City. Simple, clear and informative content especially designed for mobile devices enable people to quickly access the information they want when they're out and about.
"The .Tel is a perfect fit for mobile applications and you won't be let down because of a virus or junk mail. It gets right to the point."
Richard Desjardins, President, MaVille Telecommunications
Creating a .tel directory might be a low-cost and fairly simple affair from a technology perspective, but the secret is in the planning and execution. Richard Desjardins, President of MaVille Telecommunications in Canada, thoroughly researched his MaVille directory for months, testing and refining, prior to its official launch in the Summer of 2011.
Richard explains: "Have you ever tried using those large corporate phone book apps? What a nightmare! You have to type in the name - that's if you remember the name - and most of the time, it comes up with "0" results! I spent endless hours researching the big corporations and where they were not giving the customer the necessary visibility they pay for. My wife would wonder were I was at three or four in the morning and would get up to find me wrapped around three or four phone books at a time doing my research. I then meditated on the structure I wanted to use so that there was a very simple and systematic way of using MaVille."
Paul Sindell has been involved in the import and export of wines from France since 1976. He is a director at a web training centre and also lectures at several universities in Anjou, France. His directory, Côte-Rôtie, which launched at the beginning of February 2012, focuses on putting people in direct contact with the numerous wine-makers in the Rhône Valley.
Paul explains, "I am currently developing online directories of famous French wine appellations, which will then be grouped together under one main .tel, vins.tel. The idea is quite simply to export great French wines to the whole world."
"Lebanon has no directory that [is] up-to-date, user friendly, fast, comprehensive, mobile optimized, and most importantly accurate."
Elie Abou Fares, Founder and Partner, Talfen
Elie Abou Fares is Founder and Partner of Talfen, which also spotted a gap in the market in Lebanon for those seeking to find information easily. Talfen launched in July 2010 with 45 business categories covering all of Lebanon. "Lebanon has no directory that has the following qualities: up-to-date, user friendly, fast, comprehensive, mobile optimized and most importantly accurate. Talfen answers all those shortcomings and contains all kinds of contact information a business needs."
"There are several online directories in Lebanon, but most of them are localized for a certain area (such as the city Beirut) and specialized in one business sector (such as Restaurants). Very few directories offer country-wide coverage but they are restricted to limited contact info."
But why use .tel and not more traditional domains where there's more room for open development? Richard is to the point, "Anyone will tell you. If you have a smart phone and you have tried to open a website to find a phone number it's a nightmare and it's not practical because you have to write down whatever you're looking for. The .tel is a perfect fit for mobile and you won't be let down because of a virus or junk mail. It gets right to the point."
Elie adds, "The technology behind .tel enables us to deliver 'smart' contact information understandable by mobile phones."
"The speed of the .tel pages and the mobile optimization are the main reasons why Talfen was built using .tel technology. Another important reason is the ongoing updates and enhancements to the .tel that answered the needs of directories, such as better Google snippets, redirections, image ads, and so on."
Paul agrees. "I am a database administrator and web developer by trade. In the past, before .tel, I used .mobi to create a wine directory. So I speak from experience when I say that with the .tel it is so much more logical to develop, easier to understand and, more importantly, gives an excellent finished product available instantly on all platforms."
Whilst these three directories are very different, all have met with positive reactions, even though all are in early commercial development.
"Naturally, all is being closely monitored via Google Analytics, and the results are already promising."
Paul Sindell, Director, Anjou Formation
Paul charges for listings in his directory, however he adds: "I do offer free listings to people who send me wine. Every job has its perks!"
His directory has received a positive response from paying customers. "Most wine-makers think it is great. This included the syndicate themselves. When speaking with the wine-makers, I always keep in mind that my trade is I.T. while theirs is making wine."
Promotion and marketing is obviously key, as is the commercial model. With MaVille, initially free listings have been offered to businesses in a limited number of areas whilst the company invested in marketing for those businesses.
Richard acknowledges the success of this approach: "Let's put it this way. We have done our own advertising in the businesses doors with our sticker and I can tell you something, the big directories, and I mean 'big' directories, have an eye on MaVille."
"They are sending reps to try and keep up with us by sticking their own stickers next to ours and asking the owners who we are and who owns it. Although they put their stickers up, MaVille is one hundred times better and easier to use."
Once proven, MaVille will start advertising and charging for additional information. "When we have completed Montreal, we will be starting a media blitz and if companies want to pay a small fee they will be able to publish their open close hours, menus, logos and so on. We are heading for Quebec next and Paris after that, but the rest is still a big secret!"
Talfen has just come back from engaging with potential customers at a wedding trade fair, as Talfen has a complete directory of wedding services. Elie states, "We started introducing Talfen to businesses few months ago and more businesses are starting to like the idea and the technology once they explore its functionality. We use Google Analytics to track the unique visitors and page views, and this has become a convincing factor to businesses to trust Talfen. It is worth noting that the numbers of unique visitors has increased by almost 20% between quarter 3 and quarter 4 of 2011. Our goal in 2012 is to cover more business categories and provide unique opportunities for businesses to reach end users."
As for Paul, his next appellation will be Chablis but he too has big plans. "I see vins.tel as being "the" reference on great French wines. In short, .tel all the way to the core! Naturally, all is being closely monitored via Google Analytics, and the results are already promising. The advantage of using a .tel for this kind of project is that it is ideally suited to building an online directory and is at the same time instantly available on all platforms, whether fixed or mobile."
Many thanks to all the participants in this article, as well as to all of those who send us their .tel stories for the website, the newsletter and www.ilovemytel.com
.tel: a wedding photographer's perspective
My name is Jean-Luc Benazet, I am a Frenchman based in Cambridge, England and I am a wedding photographer!
Being discoverable online is the most important thing in any business. If nobody knows you exist, it's only word-of-mouth that gets you jobs. If, on top of that, your business is visible on the Web and accessible via a website, and if you market yourself well, then the sky is the limit.
I have a website, a blog, a mobile number, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Klout accounts. I have several domain names. Other bloggers talk about my work and link to me. And I have a .tel domain. I mostly use Twitter and Facebook on top of my website.
I managed to secure the "weddingphotographer.tel" domain. As I'm a wedding photographer, it's fantastic! I am the only guy in the world with that address. And because it acts like a directory, I have all the info my clients need to find me but also to see for themselves what my work is about as I can customise the site by linking to some of my blog posts or create specific pages to give people information on specific items I offer.
My .tel domain is brilliant because my main speciality keywords are in the URL itself. My domain is my job. My domain is what people key in Google to find me. It's great! My .tel domain has now started to appear in searches in Google Local. I have also started to add customers reviews at the bottom of each .tel page, and those reviews come up in searches for that speciality. It amazes me everyday.
I have recently printed business cards where I printed just my name, phone number and "weddingphotographer.tel" below! And people respond really well to that.
.tel is nothing like a website. It is more like a directory where you can find a treasure of information about a particular person or a company.