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Mar 30

Could .TEL Spell the End of Yellow Page Advertising?

The new top level domain .tel is uniquely positioned to change the face of yellow page directory advertising. It may also have significant impact on search engine optimization and will likely better serve mobile devices than the .mobi top level domain has heretofore done.

For background, the Internet has numerous “top level domains” or TLDs such as .com, .net, .edu, .gov and so forth. Telnic’s introduction of .tel is the most recent addition to the domain line up, but is significantly different than previous TLDs. This is because .tel isn’t tied to traditional HTML web pages, but rather is only a repository for data that is stored at the DNS, or domain name system, level.
Once your register and configure your company’s .tel domain name (using a standardized backend tool provided by Telnic), you may load information like phone and fax numbers, web site, Facebook page, GPS coordinates and so forth into the .tel system. There it is available for retrieval – although retrieval by whom and how is yet to be fully realized.

For now, anyone can type the .tel domain into their browser to receive a standardized display of the contact information that you entered for your company. This will likely be an immediate application for phone-based mobile devices and more convenient method for finding phone numbers and for GPS identification of locations and than a .mobi page, which is essentially just a stripped-down version of your web page for cell phones. The real future for .tel is likely hidden within the potential for the aggregating of .tel information by search engines like Google or other yet-to-be-developed online applications (Others are more skeptical about the potential for SEO benefits).

.TEL Impact on Traditional & Online Yellow Pages

Yellow page advertising is another service that could potentially be in .tel’s crosshairs. Obnoxiously overpriced and notoriously confusing, yellow page advertising is a bane to most marketing and public relations managers. In addition, online “yellow page” web sites are frequently inaccurate and difficult to correct.

Enter .tel domains, which allow a company to control the accuracy, level of detail and keywords associated with their contact information. Updates can be made immediately instead of waiting up to a year for the next directory to be issued, and everyone has the most recent version instead of a 3-year-old spaghetti-splattered tome that Mikey is using as a booster seat. Plus, as life moves to the Internet, it is reasonable to assume that thick directories will give way to the more portable web-enable cell phone or the kitchen-based family computer.

As some have pointed out, it will take a critical mass of business adopters to make .tel a success –and a true threat to the yellow page status quo. In the first month, business adoption appears brisk although press coverage is still modest. As of this post, major firms such as Microsoft, IBM, Intel, GM, Bank of America and Exxon do not currently have live .tel domains. On the other hand, Apple, Cisco, Amazon, Toyota and the White House do.

New .tel addresses have the advantage of being relatively inexpensive since domain registration is the only cost; there is no web page or web server involved. Furthermore, MySpace will be promoting .tel domains to its members, potentially tapping into individual and social networks as a strategy to bootstrap broad acceptance and implementation of the domain (this is the approach registrar Domain Monster is taking with it’s video below).

The jury is still out on the brand new .tel domain, but marketing and public relations professionals would do well to take steps to protect their brand names, configure basic contact information on their .tel domains and be watchfully waiting for further opportunities within the .TEL marketplace.

Video Information about .TEL Domain

1. Bloomberg News interviews Telnic CEO Khashayar Mabdavi about how the new domain could “spell the end of the old style directory services.”

2. Telnic’s official demo for business explains the domain’s potential in a 4 minute video overview.

3. This humorous promotional video for Domain Monster suggests how .tel videos can be used for social networking. You can even follow the ben.tel URL from the spot to learn more about UK actress Laura Haddock.

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