.tel is a new internet generic top level domain. From today, brand owners worldwide have the opportunity to buy domains associated with their brand names. .tel addresses are repositories of contact information stored in and distributed all over the internet.
What is a top level domain? It is a way of labelling information on the internet as belonging to a specific category. A major part of connecting different networks in the 70s and 80s was coming up with a standard way of addressing computers and people in a consistent way. Before the invention of the world wide web, TLDs were mainly used to associate people’s email addresses with the kind of institution they belong to. firstname.lastname@example.org would define ‘Kent’ as an educational organisation. email@example.com is a military email address, firstname.lastname@example.org – commercial, email@example.com – governmental.
After the first few TLDs were defined, country-code TLDs were defined to denote which country a computer resource is associated with: .fr .uk .de .ca. When the world wide web was introduced, web sites used the same addressing technique, and TLDs became associated with naming web sites. For example when the Pacific island of Tuvulu were assigned the country-code TLD .tv they sold it to a third-party who were able to sell web domains ending in .tv to many companies in the media industry.
.tel isn’t a top level domain that is used for web sites. It’s for directory information: all the possible ways to get in touch with an organisation or individual. The promoters don’t expect Unilever, the owners of Dove beauty products, to buy the ‘dove.tel’ domain name so that they can create a http://www.dove.tel web site. dove.tel will be the location for contact information for anyone wanting to get in touch with the people responsible for the Dove brand.
There are three dates associated with registering .tel domains. Today, December 3rd 2008 is the date from which trademark owners can apply for .tel domains associated with their brands. From February 3rd 2009, those who want to get in early registering domains can pay extra for .tel domains. This is when domains such as media.tel, love.tel, business.tel, hamburgers.tel, taxi.tel and flowers.tel will be available to buy. February marks the beginning of the ‘land-grab’ phase. To register these domains in this phase you have to pay extra, but it is still first come, first served. From March 24th, standard fees will apply.
If you use Domainmonster.com here’s what it’ll cost you at each stage. December 3rd, 2008 – February 2nd, 2009: £279.99, February 2nd, 2009 – March 23rd, 2009: £79.99, March 24th, 2009: £14.99.
What does this mean for you and I? Business cards for freelancers will become very simple. If you buy media.tel, people need only remember that to get in touch with you. Phones will be able to get your current number from the internet. Email software will get your current email address automatically. You’ll be able to make other contact info available such as Instant Messaging and forum IDs.
You’ll also be able to share information with the world using .tel – starting with social networking pages, multiple websites and blogs. In a few years time, the location of rate card information, products that you are interested in buying… could be found through .tel. More on the future of .tel soon…
Find out more at Telnic.