.tel is a new top level domain from Telnic that is currently in beta. What makes .tel unique is that it maps domains to contact information stored directly in the DNS. Telnic, the .tel registry operator, describes it:
The .tel is a new TLD dedicated exclusively to communications that enables people and businesses to store, update and publish contact information, web links and keywords directly in the DNS under a unique domain name.
When I discovered .tel it was one of those eureka moments. The ability to have all my contact methods available in one place, with appropriate access restrictions, is exactly what I’ve been missing. In the past I’ve tried hard to simplify my contact data. I started using personal numbers (one number for life) when they launched in the early 90’s, which helped a bit. However in reality I don’t want one number. I want to separate personal & business calls. I want both landline and mobile numbers because it’s cheaper for the family and friends to call a landline and I don’t always want to take calls on my mobile. With developments in technology I now want to give my contacts access to lots of different methods of contact – my home number, my business number, my personal email, my business email, my Skype ID, my Twitter ID, my Truphone number, my DeFi number – so they can choose the most convenient contact method for them. But how do I make the different contact methods available? And vary availability to segments of my network of friends, family, business contacts etc? In the past I would give them one or two of what seemed to me the most appropriate contact methods. But that meant second guessing how they wanted to contact me – not ideal. We are still a long way from a converged world where technology determines how best to connect you to the other party, so access to a directory of different methods is very powerful.
.tel is device independent and the directory information can be speedily accessed from any web enabled device. You maintain full ownership of your data because it is stored under your domain name and not entrusted to a third party. The contact information is ‘live’ in that it can be changed in real time. Multiple profiles will be available by launch that will allow you to display different contact data depending on where you are and the time of day, e.g. home, office, in transit. A simple method of password access will allow certain types of data to be only available to a specific group or individual; so you could make more information available to your family than you would to business colleagues. Keywords can also be added to your profile for search engine optimisation. With .tel there is no need to build, manage or host a website to make your data available – that’s handled by Telnic.
The developer site is now live at http://dev.telnic.org to help third parties integrate with .tel.
I’ve been offered the opportunity to try out jonathanjensen.tel in advance of the launch so I can review it and talk about my thoughts on it. If you want to be part of Telnic’s upcoming beta program and get a ‘name.vip.tel’ test domain to play around with, you can email email@example.com to get on the list.