Telnic Eyes Opportunity in Enabling SoHo Businesses

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London-based Telnic is carving out an interesting role for itself as an online enabler of small businesses. Telnic is the organization that offers the .tel top level domain, which for GBP 14.95 per year provides a simple Web presence that enables individuals and businesses to store all their contact information (email, Web address, social presence) in a single, searchable profile.

The company has developed this into an online presence product (branded Telnames) that is optimized for smartphones and is targeting (among others) the small-office, home office business.

Imagine the office manager by day, licensed hypnotherapist by evening and weekend, and there lies the SoHo opportunity. There are millions of these micro businesses around the world and they share some common traits. Most have only a crude Web presence, which is likely not mobile optimized. Many operate their businesses without a dedicated landline, and most are accustomed to using self-service, since they are too small or too hard to find to gain the additional of a live sales force. This is an area where Telnic is focused, for now in the U.K. Telnic has formed marketing partnerships, for example, with various small-business and professional societies in Britain in order to reach more of these small, independent businesses.

We recently caught up with Telnic CMO Ian Bowen-Morris. He believes the big shift to smartphone usage bodes well for a mobile-ready micro-presence product like .tel.

“Our view is that the huge growth in smartphone penetration and mobile searching presents an excellent opportunity for businesses to generate leads. What all businesses need is a simple place that they can point people to so they can be reached quickly from any device.

“A .tel name is very low cost. It’s easy to use and can be updated with a few clicks at any time. It is valuable as a stand-alone Web presence or a mobile-friendly enhancement to an existing Web presence,” Bowen-Morris said.

Bowen-Morris said he is in discussions with directory publishers in the U.K., and elsewhere, about using the Telnic API to build a custom branded environment for offering .tel as part of a presence bundle, or as part of a managed service, which could command a much higher price point for resellers. Through the API, publishers can register the .tel names and upload merchant business profile info. Bowen-Morris says next on the list for Telnic are apps that allow registry and management of .tel names via iPhone or Android.

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Bob Walker

    What a nonsense.

    A new tld (top level domain) offers no value in terms of mobile optimization. The .tel offer is no different to that of .mobi tld and is completely irrelevant. Buying a new domain name adds additional effort for a businessto manage. The most effective method is to use an m. sub-domain (i.e. m.website.com) and redirect mobile devices .

    To start to generate return from mobile a business needs to create a mobile website that is optimised for all mobiles and mobile search discovery and delivers relevant content to a mobile user.

  2. Mark

    @bob: your statement might be true, but when a small business has no website to begin with, for 10 bucks per year (all-inclusive) a .tel domain gives them all they need with little effort.

  3. TelTalk.org

    Bob,

    You are right when thinking about businesses either with internet experience or with enough time / money.

    What about millions of dummy users and small businesses who don’t want to spend time and money?

    Not everybody is an expert like you!

  4. dutchstreetdog

    Look what i have made of my DotTel
    http://www.scheveningen.tel
    I think DotTel is Great

  5. cottingham

    rubbish you should be able to add video when you buy your dot tel in the control panel and not have to go to a third party.
    and were are the new templates they cant even run a forum proply.

  6. Alex

    Cottingham,

    You can add videos within the control panel of Telnames already from the start – and for the control panel it’s announced as well.

    The new templates for Telnic are currently in development.

    And for the forum there is a new alternative: TelTalk.org

  7. Alex

    … and for the control panel of Telnic it’s announced as well.

  8. ILY

    Ok. Telnames are good enough for more than half of small businesses.

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