Confused? Understanding .tel

I wrote a short article this weekend about .tel and the repsonse has been amazing. This is definitely a topic people are interested in and also a TLD that many are yet to fully understand. The first thing you have to do is stop thinking of .tel as a TLD – think of it as a new concept. .tel is not like any TLD out there becuase it stores all of the information direction in the DNS rather than on a standard webpage that you create.

Looking at online forums, reading other blogs, and seeing the responses to my post – this seems to be the single biggest point of confusion surrounding .tel. I have seen many people ask – why would I want .tel if I could make a webpage (for free) with the same information. If this is a question you’ve been having about .tel – then you don’t fully understand .tel.

.tel domains store information directly in the DNS or Domain Name Server which means that data can be accessed very quickly, in a universal format by any device or computer on the planet. Since all this information is stored in the same structure it is very easy to add compatibility to any device in the future as well. A webpage, on the other hand, could be designed in a million different ways. If you wanted to teach a device how to read a name, address, etc. from a webpage – you would have to write a different program for each contact file you would like to read. This is a universal format, just like 555-123-4567 is a universal format for telephone numbers.

So there is no way you could ever do with a webpage what you can do with .tel becuase a webpage does not store the information directly in the DNS using a universal system that all devices can acccess now and anytime in the future.

The next biggest point of confusion I’ve seen around .tel is why it would be useful if you cannot put a webpage on your domain. Remember, .tel is doing something no domain has done before – so you’ll have to think outside of the box on this one. Here’s what I’ll say. Right now you have a phone number, a random string of numbers having no relevance to you at all. Notice I am not saying – “think of a wepage.” This is because .tel is not trying to compete with webpages – it is trying to compete with telephone numbers.

If you compare a .tel domain to any domain with a webpage – you are really comparing apples to oranges. Nobody would claim that a random number and a webpage are similar at all. A .tel domain is similar to a random number – only this time, all this random information can be stored with a unique indintifier relevant to you! Even if I have to get a domain like “Steve1945” or “Bill9972” this is still easier to remember than 555-345-9567 – and if I ever change my number I don’t have to call all of my contacts and give them my new number – they already have it!

These are the two features that differentiate a .tel domain from a telephone number. This is what you need to compare a .tel domain to rather than a regular domain with a webpage because these are two completely different things. As a replacement for telephone numbers .tel is a HUGE upgrade. Since the inception of the telephone, telephone numbers haven’t really changed – they are still, as always, a random string of numbers. Now, a new concept could come-into play, storing your name, address, phone number, etc. all together wrapped in one domain name.

So you thought domain names were just for webpages? Think again.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Kevin Jackson March 30, 2009, 12:14 pm

    Well said!

    It always amazes me how some so-called domain “experts” just simply don’t have a clue.

    It is good is really a good thing to see domainers getting wise and being wary of new domain extensions, but as you have so eloquently pointed out, the .tel extension is barely a domain name.

    Reply
  • chris robbins March 30, 2009, 1:39 pm

    It does appear that name and number combinations can be used. However, purely number combinations can’t as I tried and failed to reg 411.tel.

    Reply
  • Jim Lucia March 31, 2009, 11:02 am

    There is a lot that is possible with .tel. Check out this site I bumped into, http://cancel.tel the site isn’t about cancelling .tel but it’s a service to cancel your credit card if you lost it or got it stolen. Services like that are convenient for people, it allows them to block their card fast from anywhere in the world, no need to search for a phonebook, computer or call information services first. Nobody remembers the phone number of their card company out of their head but they do remember the word cancel. So that is an advantage that .tel gives compared to yellow pages or regular phone numbers.

    Reply
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