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.Tel TLD Gains Momentum

Derek Iwasiuk
October 27, 2008


Yet another TLD is emerging on the scene and gains momentum. The new .Tel TLD, created by a London-based company called Telnic, will allow individuals, companies and organizations to store all their contact information in a virtual phone book for life. In essence, it will be a global online contact directory.

How does it work?

First, users will need to register their domain name with an annual fee ranging from $20 to $30. Unlike a regular website, no technical skills are required to set up a .tel contact page.

A simple interface helps users enter their contact information: a home or office phone number, a mobile phone, e-mail addresses, Facebook, Twitter profiles or any of the other ways people choose to stay in touch. Each of the contacts has a clickable link pointing to the service. For example, clicking on an ICQ username will open ICQ app.

Owing to the recently made public API, mobile device users could communicate and access the services of organizations or individuals with .tel domain names.

Simple name or keyword searches will facilitate finding companies, friends and business contacts.

It is possible to set your .tel domain to show different numbers during the day and at night, or to show your geographic location on a map that will appear on the page.

What about privacy issue?

Tel's security options will let people choose who can reach them and how. For instance, you can choose to share information with friends, keeping it hidden from others. Or you can share certain contact info with acquaintances and clients, saving your secret home number for friends and family.

Advantages of the service

1. It is fast because the information on a .Tel domain name is stored directly on the DNS, compared to the typical DNS which only provides a mapping between domain names and IP addresses.

2. It is compatible with mobile devices.

3. It is easy.

4. With .tel, you don’t need to notify people when you change a phone number or location. It is enough for them to remember your .tel address in order to have your updated contact information.

Who would want to pay money to store contact information online?

Telnic believes .tel will appeal to both everyday consumers who want a simple, updatable contact page and businesses looking to make themselves more “discoverable.”

Registration Schedule

1. Sunrise, the phase open to trademark holders and owners at a premium price of $399 US which includes a three-year registration of the .tel name. It runs from December 3, 2008 to February 3, 2009.

2. Landrush, open registration runs from February 3 to March 24, 2009 at a cost of $375 US that involves a three-year registration of the name.

3. General, open registration starts March 24 and costs $19.99 US, which includes a one-year registration of the name.

While .tel provides people with a simple way to store their contact information in a virtual phone book, it might be a challenge to get people to adopt yet another TLD. Some believe that the new suffix will also set the stage for trademark issues. It is expected that companies that are slow to secure their .tel address may find themselves paying a premium to someone who has registered it first.

Despite all worries, the registry operator for the new TLD, Telnic recently announced that 100 ICANN-accredited registrars have signed up to sell .tel domain names well in advance of its December 3 launch.


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