.tel Domain Could Mean Global Online Phone Book


Photo via the Bakersfield Californian
No More Business Cards, Phone Books?
The new top-level internet domain, .tel, could go a long way in creating a comprehensive online phonebook—and putting an end to tree-hogging hindrances like the Yellow Pages and embossed business cards once and for all. Even better, if it catches on, .tel will be easier to use than either: no constantly ordering more cards every time you get a new address or title, no making room in your shelving for yet another obtrusive phone book.

Here's how it'll work.
.Tel Me More
Simple, really: you register your name at a domain (for a price, of course), and you'll find an easily updatable template where you can list public info like your job title, email address, phone numbers, website, even a location address complete with a link to Google maps for ease of use.

Look at Justin.tel for a meat and bones example.

So instead of updating print cards, you just give your clients a URL—one that's replete with up-to-the-date info. It gives business an opportunity to make locating and contacting them easier, and to show up on more search engine queries. If the domain is successful, it could become a sort of ultimate tree-less Yellow Pages: a one-stop worldwide contact directory. Like the New York Times says, it could become a veritable phone book for the internet.

Paperless, Global Contact Directory? Time will .Tel
Of course, to be worth investing in, .tel has to be user-friendly and accessible enough—and professional looking enough—to differentiate itself from, say a free domain you can register at BlogSpot. Also, .tel will also have to be eminently searchable—it won't do anybody or any business any good if it gets buried under Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. But if it can rise to the task, we may finally have a definitive reason to call for the cancellation of all phone books.

If you're interested in registering your own .tel domain for yourself or your business, this tutorial will walk you through the process. Currently, applications are only being accepted from trademarked businesses—on February 3rd, advance registration will be accepted, and on March 23rd, the domains will be available for anyone.

More on Phone Books:
Get All Those Yellow Pages Books to Stop Calling
Mythbusters: Phone Book Friction

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