#1 GoDaddy.com - Home of the $1.99 domain name

.Tel me about it

Stay Connected For Life with a .TEL domain. Register yours for only $11.95/yr at www.dotster.com Limited time only!

I've talked about domain extensions like .ME, .TV and .IN in some depth on this blog, but really they are just the equivalent of new "toll free" area codes but .com is still the 1-800 number that everyone runs back to. Well. There's a new extension that just became generally available this last week that could quite possibly eliminate the need for area codes all together. The new extension is called .TEL, but a .TEL name is much more than just a new ending to the same old domain name. Let me explain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up and I'll save additional explanation for future blog posts as I really like the .TEL extension and I'm sure I'll be blogging more about it soon.

You see, when you register the .TEL extension you don't ever setup your own website, because the .TEL registry handles the web service for you. Let's break this down into a Q&A shall we:

Q: What does it the .TEL registry serve up to a user when they browse to MYNAME.tel in their web browser?

A: The short answer is that it serves up your contact information in a format appropriate to the browser that requested the info. A mobile phone would get a different display than firefox on your desktop would see, but the contact information would stay the same. You can see Justin.tel here.

Q: Wait, so you are serving up my contact information to anybody on the web? Doesn't that mean I'm gonna get spammed like crazy?

A: No. You share only the information you want to share with only the people you want to share it with. So if you don't want the world to know your cell phone number but you want to make sure your friends do, you can safely and securely publish it on your .tel domain and only your friends can see it.

Q: I heard that .tel's were really expensive. How much do they cost?

A: Yeah, up until a week ago the .tel registry was in it's "early adopter" phase and if you wanted the very best names you could try to get them during the early adopter phase for something like $300. That's changed now and many company's are offering initial deals for less than $14. Dotster has .tel domains for just 11.95. Check if your name is available here!

Q: Who are .tel domains for anyway? Do you really expect average Joe's to register?

A: They really are useful for everyone, but initially I suspect that businesses, who are less concerned about privacy issues as it relates to contact information, are likely going to be the early adopters (along with the geeks like me who's signed up his whole family). It's pretty common for a handy man, for example, to either not have a web presence or not have an easy to remember phone number. Business cards get lost and email addresses are often too long to remember. If instead, our fictional handyman registered TheHandyman.tel, posted it on the side of his truck and on his business cards, when it came time to call the handyman, his customers could find him in a new and convenient way. And TheHandyman.tel could track his email address, his website and his phone number so there's only one piece of information his clients have to remember instead of 3 or 4.

Q: But it's just a website... I mean, couldn't he do the same thing with a .com?

A: That's where the genius of the .tel design comes in. Yes, it's a website. Granted, it's a website that doesn't require our Handyman to host a website or learn HTML, but really, there are already shrink wrapped packages available to make that process pretty easy. But .tel is a lot more than just a web site. Without getting too technical, the .tel domain maintains it's information in a standardized way that is accessible to programmers like me in ways that a standard HTML page isn't (it's just random text). Mobile devices are a perfect example - I don't want to have to look up a website to call TheHandyman... I just want to call TheHandyman. Well, it's quite possible (and it's already being done) to build intelligence into mobile devices so that instead of typing in 123-555-1212 to call TheHandyman, you'll just be able to call TheHandyman.tel and his phone number that he setup will automatically get called. If you bother to setup a contact record at all for TheHandyman, you would only have to enter the one address and the device would be smart enough to direct you to exactly where you wanted to go.

Q. Okay, so what if TheHandyman changes his phone number once I've added him to my contacts?

A. Ah, this is the very best part and the last of these silly questions. You see, .tel turns the paradigm of having to maintain all of your contact information for your friends, colleague's and family on it's head. Instead, your contacts manage their contact information through their .tel account and the information is immediately available to all of the people who need to get in touch with them. Now, if TheHandyman gets a fancy new cell phone he can push that out to all of his clients without have to print up a new business card or repaint his truck. The next time you tried to call TheHandyman.tel from your cellphone, you'll be calling the right number.

See, .tel really does solve some serious problems in an elegant way. Sure, it's early and the developer tools, the interfaces for end users and the cool features are just getting going but as a programmer I see a very bright future for .tel. As a domainer, I see unique opportunities besides just being an early adopter who happens to own TheHandyman.tel :)

I'll let you in on some of my plans for .tel very soon, but in the meantime, act now to make sure you get a good .tel name!

No comments:

Post a Comment