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ICANN Approves .TEL

Yesterday, the ICANN approved the creation of the .TEL top level domain.  Telnic has been championing the creation of this domain since the late 90’s, and will be the administrar. According to the press release:

The .Tel domain will enable people to reach a business from any Internet enabled device (computer or mobile) simply by typing, for example, “Hertz.tel”. The user will then be able to connect directly to a Hertz representative or navigate through a list of services that Hertz may offer. Businesses can easily extend their brands into this new space and enhance the way customer inquiries are handled.

In addition, individuals can use the .Tel domain to publish and update their contact information directly in the DNS. These individuals will decide, in real time, by what means their friends and colleagues will be able to reach them. This could include: VoIP, conventional telephony (fixedline or wireless), email, SMS, Skype, AIM and many more.

Nobody can reasonably argue that a unified contact space is a bad thing.  Semantically overloading the domain system in this fashion seems like a bad idea to me, though.  I already have published contact information for email, Skype etc.  Shouldn’t we simply prepend the protocol to an existing URI as we do now?  sms:foo@bar.com, mailto:foo@bar.com, sip:foo@bar.com, etc?  It brings up an interesting question when you do something like this: tel:foo@bar.com — how do you translate the address into a e.164 phone number, and if the user has multiples registered, which do I use? 

I could be completely wrong, but it looks to me like this is a dead end.  What are your thoughts?

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Frank Miller May 16, 2006, 2:00 pm

    I don’t know, I can’t figure out what is so earthshattering about this. They claim on their website that you can update contact information in real-time and access it using NAPTR queries. But this can be done with existing TLD’s so why is .tel special? Is there some special DNS implementation that will allow updates to propagate more quickly? If so, that’s huge and could be the beginning of the end for the current DNS architectural approach. But probably not since I’d probably have heard about something so earth shattering. Anyone care to illuminate me on this?

  • Alec May 16, 2006, 3:09 pm

    Yeah. I discussed this over lunch with an acquaintance and his reaction was “what next? a .bricks? .mortar?”

  • Dr.Subrahmanyam Karu May 17, 2006, 3:34 am

    You can as well use tel.saunderslog.com instead of saunderslog.tel. They want to rip money from us. Nothing more than that.

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