The .TEL domain scam

I just received an email trying to sell me a .TEL domain. Just another second rate extension, I thought, but I clicked on it anyway. After reading up on it I find it is tied up with

If you register one of these domains you cannot host it yourself, you cannot control it and you cannot use it for email. Basically all you can do with it is provide an online business card!

Reading the above article it is not even clear Mr Mahdavi knows how it will work. In a comparison to when this was done in the past Mr Mahdavi says “The flaw, he said, with Enum was that it demanded people be on the web. By contrast, .tel will work with many different devices such as smart phones”. Well if this system does not require the recipient of the information to be on the web, just how will their smart phone get the information?

He goes on to say “It will become their place on the cloud,”. Get a grip Mr Mahdavi, you can’t just spout the latest buzzwords and expect to have credibility. This domain is just sheer nonsense!

The worrying this about all this is ICANN, the overseers of the domain system can allow this sort of thing to go on. Why does one company (telnic) have the right to tie up an entire top level domain name? I am all for new domains coming out, but what next, .wifepics? It is concerning that ICANN have taken it upon themselves to move from simply regulating the distribution of top level domain names to wholeheartedly regulating the content too.

Surely this goes against everything the Internet was designed to be?!

EDIT: Seems others are not happy with this either :

4 replies
  1. Rarst
    Rarst says:

    What is scam exactly? They are “selling” top level domains (nothing new, Tokelau did that with .tk many years before custom TLD became available) which they still control (also nothing new, plenty of “on behalf” horror stories, also in many years).

    There is some technical bs, but I think it’s probably because of ignorance rather than malice.

    Yes, their product sucks and is aimed at idiots. But I don’t think this is definition of scam.

    Some top brands get away with much bigger lies than this and people merely call it marketing. 🙂

  2. Jim
    Jim says:

    Hi Rarst,

    Yes, I agree, it was probably a poor choice of words to call it a “scam”. However, it is IMHO not good that ICANN can give this domain to a company who dictates people cannot host elsewhere and cannot control their domain.

    Yes, it is not “hidden” as such, but equally it is not really fair. In the UK if the domain had been given to British Telecom there would likely be criticism that it is anti competitive. So I guess the correct term is scandal (albeit small in the great scheme of things) rather than scam.

    You’re right about the marketing though, a good percentage of marketing is equally dodgy 🙂

  3. Rarst
    Rarst says:


    Well, I don’t see anything wrong on IANA/ICANN part. Company pays for this domain (which is fine under concept of sponsored TLD) to be used for specific community use (hosting contact information of clients).

    Who knows how many strings were pulled behind the scenes, but in the end it is all within the rules.

  4. Jim
    Jim says:

    @Rarst: You are right, it is all within the rules. I guess it is a case of “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”. I am not a fan of sponsored TLD’s full stop and I guess that is the crux of it 🙂

    I guess only time will .tel (see what I did there? LOL), but my prediction is this domain will be a damp squib and ultimately will enjoy limited uptake.


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