I’ll begin this post by saying that I’m not yet convinced that .tel is the wave of the future. That being said, I have bought *some* .tel domains but these still represent less than 1% of my portfolio. There has been a lot of buzz about .tel and plenty of articles written both in the Domaining and business community. What I think makes .tel such a hotly contested (and sometimes confusing) topic is that this is the first TLD to use DNS in a completely different way.
When we think of a TLD – we think of something that will have a website on the other end. The idea of storing data directly in the DNS does not immediately resonate with people. I have seen many discussion board where people think they can put a webpage on a .tel domain – this is the central point of confusion.
.tel is revolutionary becuase it provides a paradigm shift from the way in which we normally view TLD’s. This could open the door to the storage of much more information directly in the DNS rather than relying on websites to deliver all of our data. As the web gets more mobile everyday the market potential for a TLD (or multiple) that allow people to quickly access information from anywhere, and update it from anywhere is huge. This also changes the way we look at phone numbers.
Why would you want to remember a random list of numbers? This is how we have been doing things since the inception of the telephone. Cellphones have made things much easier as we can simply input the number once and then can racall it by selecting the name. However, what if our friend or business contact changes their telephone number or email address and forgets to tell us? The data in our cellphone is now useless as the contact information is no longer valid. With .tel this would never happen again. When a contact of yours changes their phone number, or email address your contact entry would be automatically updated since you are both using the same global entry.
As someone who does a fair bit of International travel I can clearly see the advantage of this when traveling to another country. It is much easier to whip-out your cellphone in Shanghai and enter “hotels.tel” on your cellphone and find a list of hotels next to you. Think of how much easier a business card is. No telephone number, fax number, email address would be needed – just a .tel and the information is all there. Of course – that’s if we’re still using paper business cards in the next 10 years (which I think is unlikely – but that’s a whole other conversation).
Okay – so sounds like I’m a big champion of .tel? Not really – I still see incredible limitations to this TLD. Changing the way people do things, and the way that large companies operate is a long, arduoous, and most importantly SLOW process. It is very possible that .tel could take so long to become accepted as a standard way to contact people that it could fizzle-out as quickly as the previously-hyped .mobi TLD.
I registered my .tel domains with Moniker and Name.com. I’m a big fan of Moniker – great registrar for Domainers. Name.com does have MUCH better pricing on .tel at just about half the price. Below are some screenshots of the .tel configuration process with Moniker: