Text Spam? Actually a Really Bad Domain Name

text spamDon't you hate text spam?  How do these people even get your phone number?  Oh, wait… it's actually just a really bad domain name and text spam.

Let me explain what happened.  Over the past few weeks I was getting text spam, or that's what I thought, from what could only be described as a spam texts from a spam domain.  Here was the email – sh5@smile.ms – what am I supposed to think?  This is something legit?

I deleted most of these texts on my phone and then made attempts to actually block this annoying email from sending anything else my way, unsuccessfully.  A few weeks later when I when I had an appointment to get a teeth cleaning I learned at the dentist's office that this was a service they use to actually confirm appointments.  Apparently these SMS services are a new and popular tool among medical offices.

Good idea but lets analyze this for a second.  Why would dentists pay a SMS service that uses a terrible domain name like Smile.MS? I'm a tech-savy individual that knows what a country code top level domain (ccTLD) is and I still thought this was text spam.  I'm sure there are thousands of non-tech inclined people that don't know anything about domains and automatically assumed this was text spam as well.

I was not aware of this until I looked it up bu the .MS domain extension is for the country of Montserrat.  This is a tiny island in the Caribbean and is a territory of the United Kingdom.  The .MS domain touts itself as a good alternative on it's website stating;

  • It is almost impossible to get your preferred easy to remember name in the .COM name space.  However, chances of getting a similar if not better name at the .MS name space are still very high.

  • There are only 35,000 one-word domain .com and .net names still available that use English words and phrases.  Get your preferred name with a .ms extension.

Of course then they make this statement;


  • Domain names give your company a degree of credibility on the Internet.  If you want to do business on the Internet, a domain name is essential.  Choose .ms

I've chronicled in my writings on here about my experiences explaining .CO domains to a relative, who hadn't heard about them.   As well as how I lost out on consulting work due to mentioning the .IO domain extension.  The executive gave me a funny look when I said, “.IO domains” and I'm pretty sure saying anything about these start-up domains were a mistake.

So what is the angle supposed to be with Smile.MS?  Is this supposed to be cute, funny, or hip?  I honestly don't understand it.  Matt Cutts doesn't even really recommend ccTLDs when they are not used for their original intended purpose.  Of course how many people in Montserrat are buying .MS domains?  I imagine not that many.

I should admit I do own one .ME domain name but it's intended purpose is as a URL shortener, not for building a service or website on.  I feel like alternative domains are as controversial as abortions these days as the debate rages on.

I appreciate this easy way to confirm appointments but again the major problem with this service is that now that I know what it is, I dislike it.  Since others do NOT know what it is they probably dislike it too.

Solution Reach, the company behind the Smile.MS service, clearly has the resources and capabilities to find something better.  They are just trying to save some bucks and are lazy.  They need to spend a ton of money on marketing and advertising to make this bad domain name better known, so people like me don't assume it is text spam, or look for an upgrade.

Do you agree?  What do you think of getting emails from this terrible email – sh5@smile.ms?  What's your general opinion of companies with resources opting for bad domains?

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  • These messages are coming from my dentist? Well, that explains why I got two this week. I’ve been getting them for over a year now, and have deleted every one without opening it. The sender shows as “ly4@smile.ms” instead of a phone number and the text preview is “No subject”. I was convinced that it was a mobile virus that redistributes itself via SMS. They need to fix that text preview if they expect anyone to open their messages. Thanks for clearing this up for me.

    • Yes, it is pretty stupid Brian.

      It makes sense to use a short 2-letter country code top level domain (ccTLD) for sending these reminders via SMS text messages. It doesn’t make sense for them to be sent from “ly4@smilems” as that seems totally spammy. Why hasn’t the company behind Smile.ms put up money for a better and more well known domain? There are lots of good Smile.ccTLD domains available.

      If I was a dentist I wouldn’t use this service as it seems like it is just confusing customers. It’s pretty much wasting money if your customer flags the appointment reminder message as spam. Who else agrees?

  • I’ve been getting these recently. They asked me to reply yes to confirm my appointment. I tried 3 times but it failed. Perhaps, because it’s routed through Montserrat, it won’t go through.

    • Lol, no Tom the DNS isn’t routed via Montserrat. Likely it’s an issue the developers didn’t workout with your phone and the texting app.

  • Noway Jose says:

    Thank you for this article on smile.ms. Yes, it was from my Dental office asking me to confirm my appointment. At first, I thought some virus got my dental visit from my calendar on my phone but further reading of the text shows my Dental office name and phone number which was not in my calendar event.

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