Jonathan Jensen on Thursday – some thoughts around .tel and mobile users

Today’s post from Mobile Industry Review.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had several conversations with people about .tel domains and how .tel creates a simple, single place to store and share your contact data. .tel is a new top level domain that allows users to publish their contact data directly to the web, in the DNS, so it’s easily available from any internet connected device in a simple, easily accessible, consistent format, without the need for a website. As the data is not stored on a hosted website there’s no HTML to slow down or screw up the display of the data and of course no need to organise hosting, which simplifies the whole experience for Normobs. .tel is about communications, not web content. For me, it’s my interactive business card!

So what does .tel mean for mobile users? .tel is a mobile optimised contact directory. Mobile apps will allow the data to be accessed without having to open a web browser. When you’re mobile you can check the current contact data for a .tel user at any time, from your handset. As this data can be managed via profiles, you will only see the current, and therefore relevant, contact data for the user at that point of time. So at the weekend or in the evenings you could see ‘home’ contact data and during the day, business contact data. You might also see a different, more limited, profile when someone is travelling. Plus of course you can click on a phone number in the .tel profile to call the person.

Most of us have many different modes of contact – landline numbers, mobile numbers, VoIP, IM, Twitter, plus other information we want to direct people to, like our blogs and websites. Trying to second guess the best method of contact for both parties is impossible so .tel puts it all in one place and gives the other party choice of contact method, within your chosen parameters. Privacy functionality allows you to make certain contact methods only available to specific individuals or groups of people. I find my preferred phone numbers and other methods of contact change fairly frequently, particularly as I’m always keen to take advantage of new deals and services. Advising contacts of new numbers and ID’s is a pain so it’s much simpler to point people to a .tel where my preferred numbers and ID’s are always current.

I believe the true value of .tel will start to become apparent once the developer community starts releasing applications that use .tel data. There are already applications like the BlackBerry and iPhone apps that simplify the .tel lookup and data management processes from your mobile device.

If you want to try out a .tel domain for yourself you can sign up for a free temporary name here. .tel domains will be available for purchase at a premium price from 3 February and via general availability from 24 March. I guess most people will wait for general availability when .tel domain pricing will be similar to the usual domain pricing. At that level it’s a small price to pay to have your current contact data always up to date and easily available.

Have a look at my beta .tel at http://jonathanjensen.vip.tel/

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