.tel domains became generally available this week on Mar 24, 2009. I just got mine. I’m going to use it as a web based business card for our company, including everyone’s contact information. The .tel is supposed to be used as a phone book for the Internet where you can store e-mail addresses, links to Web sites, identities for online social networks, phone numbers and street addresses.
You can purchase a .tel domain now from name.com for $8.99 a year. http://www.name.com/domain-extensions/tel or from lcn.com for $20 per year. You can also get it from MySpace http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=52084432.
Here is a great example which will demonstrate how your company can use a .TEL as a contact directory for easy access on mobile phones. http://celebrity.tel/ See how you can just click to dial the phone number?
I think this is going to be enormously popular. It has been highly anticipated, and on the first day it was available to the general public this week, about 250,000 applications were filed for 70,000 unique domain names, said Justin Hayward, the communications director at Telnic, the operator of the .tel registry.
One of the cool things about .tel domains is that, unlike a traditional domain, it stores personal and corporate information as well as index-able keywords. This information is stored directly into the DNS where it can then be universally accessed. The DNS for other domain extensions typically only provides a mapping between domain names and IP addresses.
If cell phone carriers adopt the new technology quickly, mobile search and local search will not be the same. The keywords in the domain extension mean that your contact information is easily searchable, and as more companies adopt it, your clients will automatically use your domain with the .tel extension to find your contact information easily. What this means to local Search Optimization practices is yet to be seen.
The plan to make existing phone numbers into Internet addresses was rejected by the telcom industry, but this .tel domain is designed specifically for use as a mobile website domain, accessible on devices such as the Apple iPhone and the Blackberry. Finding contact information and directions is often difficult on a mobile phone, and this provides easy links to make calls, open e-mails and find maps quickly.