Thursday, January 30, 2014

Life is a Brand -- Lifeisabrand.com


I have decided to mix the personal and the professional on my personal blog:


All new domaining related posts will now appear on this blog.

Thank you!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

NewsVroom.com: A Newspaper That Gets It, and Gets It Right!

In today's local paper ("Viewpoints," York Sunday News/York Daily Record, York, PA, 26 August 2012, page 1B) announced a new "media lab" called NewsVroom, which "...will help journalists interact with the community."

This mobile news van, which uses up-to-date, state of the art technology, will travel around the community and cover important sports events, among other stories.

Randy Parker, Managing Editor, says, "With this technology showcase on wheels, we'll show [our readers] the latest tools and techniques we use to help [readers] get the news [they] need about York County."

I'm delighted on two levels:
1. The editors "get" that the newspaper medium is changing rapidly and that they must change with it. And so they are. Over the past few years, the YDR website has evolved into a wonderful news site. And, yet, they are still catering to an older generation who still like the smell of news print--the best of both worlds. Eventually, I suspect that YDR will eventually evolve into an all-web publication, but, for now, YDR recognizes its current demographic.

2. A savvy Webster registered NewsVroom.com (redirects--unmasked--to the YDR main site) on August 20, 2012, BEFORE making the big announcement. I don't know if this was a hand reg, backorder, or an aftermarket buy, but it hardly matters. I can't imagine that a name that has experienced four drops in six years would be that expensive (but in this biz, one never knows--that is, unless the domain hits the DNJournal sales page or NameBio).
I have seen far too many instances of companies that announce a new technology, product, or service, only to later say, "Ruh, Roh, we forgot the domain name" and then end up having to buy the domain for way too much money from someone who registered the name seconds after the announcement.

I absolutely love the term NewsVroom: it's brandable AND descriptive of what the service actually is and does. Perhaps the next step would be to apply for a trademark on NewsVroom on USPTO.

Hats off to the York Daily Record!

Vroom! Vroom!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

An important Decision...

March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life's path.
--Khalil Gibran
There is a good reason why I haven't updated this blog for a long time: I simply didn't have that much to say about the domaining industry, and I have no desire to parrot what others have already covered, nor do I wish to dig up dirt--much too easy.

Also, I doubt very much if this industry will ever clean itself up: too many scandals have taken place in the past few years, and very few people give a damn.

Business as usual.

While I'm not quitting the industry, I'm curtailing my involvement, primarily my public presence.

Instead, I'm going to concentrate on my blogging activities, paying special attention to Thought for the Day, my latest blog.

Goodbye!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

CoAftermarket.co(m) Sales Site: Become a Team Member!

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Got .co to sell?

Got second thoughts about your .co investment?

It looks as though .co will be popular, at least in the short run, but if you're feeling a bit shaky about your .co buys, why not try selling them at CoAftermarket.co(m)? (Yes, I regged both--I'm no fool).

Becoming a team member is free because you'll be posting all your own listings.

If you would rather not become a team member, you may purchase a listing for your domains, at $10.00 each.
More information
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Snark.tv: SOLD!

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SOLD!!!


Since March, the .tv TLD has exploded!

And Snark.tv has fantastic potential as a humor channel, either as a new channel or a re-branding of an existing channel.

Snark is defined by the Urban Dictionary as a combination of "snide" and "remark"; a sarcastic remark.

Snark originated with Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark.

So "Snark" is both a dictionary word and a brandable term.

Happy bidding!

SOLD!!!

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

3D Domains: Proceed With Caution!

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Image from Wikipedia Commons and released into the public domain

______________________________________________


Over at Namepros, a lot of domainers have caught the 3D fever, and, predictably, some major trolling has been occurring, probably an effort to pump up a lot of bad domains, create buzz, and then sell to newbies.

It's a very entertaining thread, but don't take it too seriously. Most of the premium 3D domains were registered in the 1990's and early 2000's. Your only hope of snagging a premium 3D is on the aftermarket. However, be careful there as well; a lot of lousy names end up on Snapnames, Namejet, and Pool. Also think about possible applications for your future 3D domain: 3D Film is better than 3D Steak.

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of domain name pumping; however, these hucksters on Namepros and Digital Point are pros who have only one goal in mind: to part the naive and the newb from their hard-earned cash and then disappear.

I would be willing to bet that some of the so-called new members are quietly PM'ing the real newbies and offering them junk 3D domains for inflated prices.

Don't fall for the ploy.

I hand regged six 3D domains, but I believe that they are long shots, so I stopped there, but some newbies are regging 150-300 domains (or so), based on the domain pumping going on. I would never buy from some of the "new members" who are loudly declaring 3D domains the best thing since the internet.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Take on "Halvarez" and My Five-year Plan as a Domainer

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I'm coming out of temporary semi-retirement for two purposes:

1. To weigh in on the Snapnames "halvarez" scandal.

2. To articulate my five-year plan in this or a related industry
Two and a half years ago, I fell into this industry quite by accident. A friend, a non-domainer, showed me the link to Domain Tools Whois. I was interested in regging some domains for a project (now defunct), but I didn't like Netsol's search function (a good thing, given Netsol's front running activities). It was kind of fun, poking around to see what was available. I was truly shocked to see that most of the premium names were gone.

I knew nothing about domain parking, although I had seen some of those minimalist Geo portals that the average web surfer hates.

Then I stumbled upon the Domain Tools Blog, which then belonged to Jay Westerdal (along with Domain Tools WHOIS). In those days, before he sold Domain Tools, he posted a lot of good information, and I had a lot of questions, which he would patiently answer.

Without not really knowing too much, I started hand-regging domains. Some were for projects, others I just liked.

Most of them were crap names, long since gone, though a few still hang around (these are semi-developed). This mad regging of junk seems to be a natural learning curve for the newbie domainer, so I'm not ashamed of this part of my domaining life. Live and learn.

I always knew that the domaining biz had a whiff of a stink about it, but it was only when I started becoming more knowledgeable did I realize how corrupt this field really is. I even wrote about it here, in particular about the way the deletion cycle is supposed to work and the way it really works.

I have always suspected that shill bidding is rampant in domaining auctions, which is why I try to be careful when I bid in an aftermarket auction. I go into an auction knowing that a competing bidder could be a shill, so I set the highest amount I am willing to pay and then step away from the computer.

I am fairly certain that this happened with Please.info (at Pool), an auction I actually lost because I had set my highest proxy at $207 (or $227--I don't have access to my records at the moment), and the high bid was $300-something. A few days later, the domain showed up in my account with no explanation. When I questioned Pool about it, they were waffly, but it had to be one of two circumstances: a shill bidder or a non-paying bidder (which, in a sense, IS a shill bidder). I believe I got a great deal on this domain (especially now that .info seems to be emerging as a good, solid TLD), but it was also a bit disconcerting because a nagging question remains: Should I have paid less for this domain? It's not that the amount was going to break my bank, but no one likes to feel like a dupe.

Here's my take: at both Pool and Snap, I am required to have a credit card on file. When I win an auction, the money is taken from my card automatically; there is no waiting for funds to clear. Perhaps the "top" bidder's card was over limit OR top bidder simply did a chargeback (buyer's remorse) or top bidder was a shill. None of these scenarios bode very well.

Right around the same time, I started to read stories over at Namepros about "halvarez." In fact, questions about this "legendary" ghost bidder started in 2006, long before I started in this biz, but Snapnames remained mum and did not investigate until a few weeks ago.

Those of us in the biz are familiar with the details surrounding former Snapnames V.P. Nelson Brady shilling as halvarez. But if you're new and have not heard the news, here's a link to DomainNameNews, which leads to other sites about this scandal.

So here's my take on halvarez and Snapnames:
First of all, I doubt if I can ever trust Snapnames again and will never probably use their service again.

All their contrite apologies mean nothing. The fact that they waited for years to investigate their resident V.P. crook leads me to believe that Snap officials didn't want to investigate, that they had a hand in the shill bidding. Even after all the warnings, Snap officials simply insisted that halvarez was a premium bidder--that nothing shady was going on.

Nelson Brady may be guilty, but he's also a scapegoat.

Companies don't admit to wrong doing unless a whistle blower or blackmailer threatens to blow the lid on the scandal. There had to be a legal and financial reason for coming clean, having nothing to do with consumer confidence. I suspect that if there were no precipitating circumstances, we would still be discussing the "legendary" halvarez throughout the domain blogs and forums.

The "confession" may also be a smokescreen for something more sinister going on at Snapnames and Oversee.

Also, I have questions about other auctions I have won. Apparently, halvarez typically did not bid in on other TLD names, even premiums, at least in the auctions on my list. But I wonder: were there other shill accounts at Snapnames, perhaps specializing in other TLDs?

When I was bidding on Poets.net (which I eventually won), I had a rather avid competing bidder, which raised the winning price by $500. I don't want to blab this user name because he or she might be completely innocent, and I think it's unfair to "out" someone who could be innocent of any wrongdoing.

But, you see, I have this nagging question in my mind: Did Snapnames steal $500.00 from me?

As long as this question remains unanswered, I simply can no longer do business with this company.
This scandal (among other issues) has caused me to rethink my place in the domaining business. I'm just not willing to do some of the seedy activities that seems to come with this biz, for example, spamming email addresses with sales pitches.

I have no doubt that I COULD do this and make money--I have sold domains to people who have come to me--but I just can't seem to hit that "send" button without feeling sick on my stomach.

You know, it's that "do unto others" rule that stops me dead in my tracks. I don't LIKE receiving such mail, so why on earth would I want to SEND it? I suppose I am what I am, and I'm not going to change.

So, here I am, a domainer who won't/can't do what she needs to do to sell domains. Not a very profitable business model.

Therefore, I have been thinking a lot about what I would LIKE to do that is somewhat related to domaining but doesn't involve direct sales. I have come up with the following five-year plan, to commence late July 2010:
1. Develop (with some professional help) some key sites that I already have, such as the following:
--Poets.net, which is my premium domain. This domain has the potential to be a category killer, but its potential (in its current form) is yet unrealized.

--PleaseBeAdvised.com, currently a redirect to Ple-ase.com, is a small advice site. Please.info also redirects to this site. I may switch the custom domain to the PleaseBeAdvised.com domain, but I want to ask around first.

--V-te.com ("Getting Out the Vote"), a voting platform that lists some voting-related .tel domains and links to their possible use. This is still somewhat speculative, but I have some time yet, given that none of my .tels expire before March 2011. Then I will have to decide if this is really a viable TLD. My gut says it's too soon to tell. If a large tele-communications company buys into .tel, then those of us holding premium one-word .tels could do very well, indeed. So I'm holding, despite what naysayers say.

--CharlottePerkinsGilman.com, which is a fairly high traffic site dedicated to a well-studied literary figure (long dead). But the site needs serious work and attention.

I'm not too worried about my personal sites (JenniferHome.com, MacedonianJournal.com, and Bugzita.com) or my academic site (MsSiegel.com, a God-send in my current position overseas). These were never intended to be money-making sites.
2. Invest in domains that follow my interests and passions, but dump the names that are NOT related to my areas, unless they are semi-premium names that I'm willing to hold for the future or sell at a profit.

Before I left the U.S., I already started this process: I went through my list and decided what I wanted to keep and what to let go that is no longer relevant. It's been difficult watching some of those names drop, but why keep them if they have little domaining value and no personal value? Why not let someone who might really want the name and could make something out of it have a crack at it?

Still, I see every drop as a personal failure, a name that once held high hopes and a great idea. But life changes and so do great ideas.
After five years, I would like to be out of domaining altogether, perhaps hanging onto a few great names that have been fully developed and realized as part of my business or names at least directing to these developed sites.

My Fulbright Award has made me realize that my first love is literature and writing, and, perhaps, domaining, for these past 30 months, has been a strange and surreal distraction.

By the way, I am writing a novel and posting a first draft online:
Corpus Delicious
There are some domaining references in it, but domaining is not the major premise of the novel. Also, I have used one of my domain names to create (for the novel) a substance called "A-hh."

The domain, A-hh.com, currently directs to my memoir excerpts.

See? I am a mess!

I will probably post at least one more time before July 2010.

I believe that this industry is in crisis, and I'd like to offer some suggestions on how to fix some of these problems.
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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Is This the End of Journalism as We Know It?

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I haven't posted here lately because the longer I have been in this biz, the less (I realize) I know. And I haven't felt inspired to write much of anything about domaining. I'm sort of at a domaining crossroads right now.

In addition, in late September, I'll be off to Europe for 10 months; I have been awarded a Fulbright lectureship in my other field: creative writing. So much of my time has been taken up with preparing for my grand adventure. I feel very fortunate, indeed, to have been granted such a special honor.

But I'm not jumping on my blog (after a long absence) just to brag. Over at LLLL.com, Reece Berg has raised a point about traditional journalism that has struck a chord with me. I wrote the following response:

I absolutely agree that traditional journalism is in a sorry state and not just because of the internet. When journalists started giving up objectivity in their reporting, they started down on a slippery slope of presenting personal opinion as news. Yes, there is a place for editorial opinion, but it should be clearly presented as such. Believe it or not, people like their news straight--they like being able to come to their own conclusions about what the news story means to them.

Journalism as a field is definitely is at a serious crossroads; those who adapt to the new reality will survive. There will always be a place for good journalists (also known as "Jack-of-all-trades" because if they don't know much about a topic, they will do their research). However, the actual newspaper structure needs to change to an internet format--and fast.

Yes, I would pay for a subscription to, say, The New York Times and, maybe, my local newspaper, IF I could get my daily fix on a portable internet-enabled device, such as a Kindle. At least I would know that the writers would be vetted and that I wouldn't have to suffer through bad writing, horrid sentence structure, and unclear statements. Except for a few well-funded sites, citizen "journalism" tends to stink. No one wants to pay good writers what they are worth, so citizen journalism sites tend to hire anyone, whether or not they can write well.

To get my subscription $$$, a professional newspaper site would have to do the following:

1. Keep the site simple, free of pop ups, slide across ads, and flashing images, so that it doesn't take forever to load a page. Simple ads would be okay, for I do understand the realities of running a news site.

2. Give me access to their archives for free or at a reduced cost.

3. Offer other goodies, such as the book review and entertainment sections: ONLINE!

4. Make navigation as easy as possible, and also offer instant indexing of important news stories.

5. Most important, give me back my objective news stories, and don't tell me how to think. Let me digest the news the way I want. If I want someone to "analyze" a situation for me, then I'll go to CNN or MSNBC or some other political wonk site. For breaking news, I'll go to Twitter's Trending Topics (which often breaks news hours before CNN).
Newspapers have just been too slow in reacting to modern times. By not being proactive (by placing their internet ducks in a row, say, about 1990), they are now scrambling to keep up with the flow of internet news, much of it poorly written.

In the end, quality will prevail, but it may take a few years for the Old Gray Lady and her ilk to pick themselves up and adjust to an internet world.

By the way, as a side note, I have noticed that domain bloggers often just regurgitate what other domainers and, yes, what real journalists post online. Moreover, I have seen more bad grammar and creative spelling on domainer blogs than anywhere else. I figure that if a blogger doesn't take care of the basics, why should I find his or her posts credible? Why should I believe that the blogger's research methodology is any better than his/her sloppy spelling and sentence structure?
As an older person, I do lament the end of newspapers, the thump of my daily newspaper against the door, and the smell of newsprint.

But nothing ever stays the same, and I hope I never become the kind of old person who simply can't adjust to The New Realities of news delivery.

Besides, once newspapers go online, just think of all the trees that will be saved. The nostalgia of newsprint notwithstanding, I must admit: getting sheaths of papers delivered daily to my door does seem highly inefficient and cumbersome.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Disruptive Telephony Weighs in on .tel

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This article from Disruptive Telephony offers one of the most balanced and comprehensive articles on the .tel TLD I have seen to date.

Do read the comments as well because they offer an intelligent and careful discussion/debate (no name calling or anger).

Some of the article is pretty technical (at least for a non-techie like me), but you'll get the general idea of the pros and cons regarding .tel.

At a later time, I will discuss the .tel domains I have registered (and why I tried for them), but I'm not sure if I even have them--some confusion and technical glitches still remain from yesterday's Landrush.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ms Domainer's New Avatar

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Ms Domainer's Avatar, Copyright 2008
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Okay, so a new avatar isn't exactly big news, but it's something to do as I await the results of my pre-bookings at Dotster for the .Tel Landrush, which, so far seems to be still "pending."

I have uploaded this avatar at both Twitter and Namepros.

Yes, I created this myself (tweaked from a larger graphic--also my original work--and, no, you may not use it as your avatar).

Other than the long red hair, I look very little like my avatar. For one thing, I'm a boomer, so that should tell you something.

Ah, the internet: No one knows if you're old, young, a dog (literally--see Snark.me), or a precocious seven-year-old kid.

Like advertising, avatars are designed to present a desired image.

Ah, the fountain of youth.
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Monday, February 2, 2009

Warren Buffet, The Oracle of Omaha

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“Be fearful when others are greedy

and greedy when others are fearful.”

--Warren Buffet

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Trademark, Vanity, Boutique TLDs Revisted

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Back in June 2008, I discussed some implications resulting from ICANN's approval of Boutique TLDs.

My response was mostly positive.

However, I now have some reservations. I still believe that offering companies an opportunity to set up a Trademark TLD is a good thing and can only help large companies shift their websites to dedicated registrars and their .companyname, thus helping to protect trademarks and stifle phishing/scamming "look-alike" sites.

However, here is my caveat:

Like many [people in the domaining business], I fear that allowing business people/businesses to apply for generic terms is positively scary. Imagine if someone controlled .bank--that could possibly cripple the banking industry worldwide, especially if the owner is a terrible caretaker and/or allows spammers and scammers to sign up for domains and email addresses.

I would hope that ICANN would reconsider allowing any one corporation or person to “own” a generic TLD, just because they come up with the money and a good story.
I posted the above comment on Domain Name Wire's article Why .eBay and .IBM Make No Sense. This article is well worth reading, especially the thoughtful thread that follows--discourse at its best. Agree or disagree, the people making their arguments are doing so in a respectful and intelligent manner.

To ICANN: some moderation would be in order in approving new TLDs, perhaps NOT approving generic TLDs at all.
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

A "No Bull" Discussion about .Tel

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WebNames.ca offers a sensible explanation regarding the .Tel TLD.

No bull.

Scroll down to "About the .Tel Domain."
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Discussion: Will .Tel Succeed?

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Yesterday, I reviewed telnic's new TLD .Tel, now in Sunrise.

Today, I want to discuss .Tel's possibility for succeeding.

This TLD's success (as an app) will depend on these factors:

1. Advertising the concept to the masses and convincing them that this cell phone app is desirable and will get them where they need to be fast. Success depends on getting the word out and convincing the masses that this is a must-have service/product (I was around for the Pet Rock mania, so I know it can be done).

2. After landrush, dropping the prices so that the average person can buy.

3. Retaining the ease of dashboard, but...

4. As cell phone technology changes, be willing to add some more features, such as an image-uploading capability (personal or company logo) and simple text-based .tel email, keeping well within its simple template.

5. Avoiding schemes like auctioning off .Tel premiums (which telnic seems to be avoiding so far).

6. Staying away from tiered pricing of premiums direct from telnic and their registrars, but don't try to stop or control the aftermarket. Resellers often offer the best publicity for the TLD; consumers may not buy on the secondary market, but they may hear about .tel from resellers and buy from the registrars. Most non-business consumers will seek to register their personal or favorite user names and won't care about purchasing premium domains.

7. Not allowing spamming or fraud.
This TLD has a chance make a global impact on the mobile devices market. It won't be a blockbuster like dot-com, but could offer consistency and reliability for mobile device users who are often on the run and in a hurry.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Beta Site: MsDomainer.vip.tel (Overall Review of .Tel)

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There is a new TLD, now in sunrise: .tel (telnic.org).

Landrush will begin on February 3, 2009, and last until March 23, 2009. General availability: March 24, 2009, and beyond.

.Tel will be reserved for mobile devices. One will not be able to build websites on this TLD or place AdSense or other PPC ads on it; users will be limited to a specific dashboard template, very limited text, and no uploading of images. Its main advantage: fast loading on mobile devices.

Think of a .tel site as an electronic business card and/or business directory in a niche market, straight from your cellphone.

Telnic, the company responsible for administering this TLD, is offering a "test drive" in beta for potential users (available to anyone for a free trial on a subdomain of vip.tel: a free temporary page, which will disappear, I presume, right around landrush).

So I just set up:

http://msdomainer.vip.tel/index.action (which does resolve on a computer.)
The dashboard is very easy and intuitive, although it's a bit slow and doesn't recognize some symbols, like apostrophes ('), which is annoying to a person interested in correct usage, so "Ms Domainer's Feeds" becomes "Ms Domainers Feeds."

Being that this is only a temporary page, I have added only two website links and two sets of keywords. Theoretically, the keywords will help search engines find the site and add it to the targeted rankings--that's what Telnic claims, anyway.

You could create a directory of websites that YOU choose. Thus, if you owned the generic Lawyers.tel, you could lease directory space to lawyers, info that you input yourself (although check TOS before doing this; I already know that you cannot lease sub-domains--my test drive site is a sub-domain--to third parties, but you can assign free sub-domains to family members and/or business partners).

The profit factor regarding reselling .tel domains will depend how the major search engines rank yet another TLD. Will Google, MSN, and Yahoo rank these sites fairly? If the search comes directly from a phone or other mobile device, will the search engines rank the site accordingly? This is currently unknown.

Phone apps could prove to be powerful; however, I'm not sure how that will work.

My site literally took me minutes to set up, but I don't know if there will be glitches once the TLD hits the registrars or if cost for hosting will be extra. I appreciate being able to test drive the TLD, a rarity in this biz.

On the other hand, Landrush domains, offered on a first-come, first-served basis, are a bit pricy: $125.00 per year, and there is a three-year minimum, so if you decide to apply, make sure that you sign up for a true premium (preferably one word), not something silly like DomainDonkeyAss.tel or CabanaMama.tel.

For uncommon names and terms, I suggest waiting until March 24 (general registration), but if you are seeking a sought-after generic, apply ASAP (some registrars are accepting pre-registrations). Even then, expect to be disappointed.

By the way, telnic.org shows a scrolling list of trademarks granted during sunrise, and it seems they are taking a liberal view of what constitutes a trademark. For example, Joker.tel has already been awarded to someone; I would have never thought that "joker" was a trademarked name, although if the company sells computers or cars under a joker trademark, it would be trademark-able.

Telnic uses the .org TLD; their instructions are image and text heavy, and it is obvious that .tel will never offer full web page functionality but just a directory/electronic business card.

Positive: when users click on a .tel link, they can be assured that their phone won't crash from overload.

Negatives:
(1) All the sites will look alike and won't (to my knowledge) even offer a small space for a simple image (although this could change as phone apps improve).

(2) It appears that .tel does not offer a .tel email address.

See the graphic on this page:

telnic.org

I did not see this capability on my dashboard.

But it would be an awesome app, wouldn't it?
Applications: Business and personal. I suspect that during sunrise businesses are snapping up their trademarks in .tel to avoid having to go through the UDRP process--the .me release was a disaster for TM holders, such as Porsche and Nissan.

I predict that the best applications will be found in generic words and personal names, both first and surnames.

Overall, I believe that .tel could prove to be a popular and much used TLD; the Telnic administrator seems to be doing all the right things in launching this TLD, avoiding holding back pages and pages of generics for auction and being up-front with potential consumers.
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