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.Tel Them Where to Find You

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.Tel Them Where to Find You

Post by Alex on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 8:42 pm

By Danielle Belopotosky

On Wednesday, companies and organizations can register Web addresses with a new top-level domain, .tel. The new domain, which stores and encrypts contact information directly into the Domain Name System, has the potential to become a phone book for the Internet.

A .tel domain name links to the contact information of businesses, organizations and individuals. Information can include telephone numbers; links to Web sites, including a Facebook or MySpace page; e-mail addresses; instant messaging names, and, if you wish, identities for virtual games like Xbox Live or Second Life.

“It’s a simple idea. And simple ideas are sometimes the best,” said Matt Mansell, the managing director at Mesh Digital, the parent company of DomainMonster, an ICANN-approved registrar. “It will just need to get some traction.”

Because the data is stored in the DNS, rather than on a server, when a person updates a phone number or address using their .tel account, it is automatically updated in the address books of their friends who have their .tel information stored on a smartphone or other mobile device.

“There is nothing else like this on the Web,” said Mr. Mansell. Rather than sending a note out to all of your contacts, like some contact management services, the update is seamless.

Individuals can also choose to display their location, allowing their contacts to see where they are at any given time and opening the door for location-based services.

A .tel name manages “all of the different ways you connect with people online, “ said Justin Hayward, communications director at Telnic, the operator of the .tel registry. At Telnic.org, individuals can see how their account will look on a simulator.

For small businesses without a Web site, a .tel domain could give them a Web presence, he said. Registrants can also store key words, which are indexed by search engines like Google, making it easier for customers to find them.

“Making sure services are delivered at a low cost was important” to us, said Mr. Hayward. The domain could have a greater impact in emerging markets where people have bypassed the personal computer for mobile devices, he said.

If there are worries about domain-name fatigue, Monte Cahn, president and founder of Moniker, a registrar that specializes in corporate brand protection, said, “This is a purposeful domain name, to be solicited and to solicit others.” It is ideal for a business, an investor or social networking, he added.

“There is something to be said for the grandfather domains,” like .com or .org, said Mr. Mansell. But he said there is also space for new suffixes if they differentiate themselves.

In October, Telnic opened up its infrastructure to developers to encourage the development of applications for mobile devices.

The initial registration period is open only to businesses and organizations with trademarked names that want to secure the related .tel address for a fee of about $400 a year (that’s what DomainMonster charges, but prices will vary by registrar). A “land rush” period, in which anyone can buy domain names for around $150 a year, begins Feb. 3. After March 24, domain names will be available for around $20 a year.

Source: NYTimes.com


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