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.tel: Wikis


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Introduced 2005
TLD type Sponsored top-level domain
Status Approved
Registry Telnic Limited
Sponsor Telnic Limited
Intended use Contact Details
Actual use +200,000 [July 2009 - Source: zone file]
Registration restrictions three-character .tel domains which can be used to publish contact information, not host websites[1][2]
Structure Direct second-level registrations are permitted; digits are restricted to avoid conflict with phone numbers
Documents ICANN New sTLD RFP Application
Dispute policies UDRP, Sunrise dispute resolution procedure[3]
Website Telnic

The domain name tel is a top-level domain (TLD) in the Domain Name System (DNS) of the Internet. It was approved by ICANN as a sponsored top-level domain, and is operated by Telnic.[4] Telnic announced in May 2009 that 200,000 tel domains had been registered since General Availability on March 24th 2009.

The domain's intended purpose is as a single management and publishing name space for Internet communication services, providing a global contacts directory service by housing all types of contact information directly in the Domain Name System.


Administration of domains

The Telnic tel domain started accepting applications for name registrations on March 6, 2009. At present, information in tel cannot be controlled by the owner except through a website control panel that Telnic has created for registrars to provide to their customers or through clients for BlackBerry, Microsoft Outlook and the iPhone. The control panel is an open source application, and can be changed or completely replaced by registrars, as the application programming interfaces required to manage tel information in the DNS were released by Telnic in October 2008.

When viewed over the Web, all tel domains point directly to a Telnic proxy webpage that is populated 'on the fly' presenting the respective domain name owner's contact data stored within the DNS system (currently hosted by Telnic but which will be opened to Registrars once accreditation procedures are formalized). tel domains can also be accessed without opening a browser on many devices through open source applications[5] or through direct DNS lookups.

Technical overview

In contrast to other top-level domains the .tel information is held directly within the Domain Name System (DNS), within the actual domain name record, as opposed to the DNS simply returning details (such as IP addresses) of the machines on which information can be found.

At present the tel TLD is only in the first stage of its launch, therefore information regarding possible exploitation or abuse by spammers and malware is not yet available due to the lack of verifiable data. But as Telnic has enabled the DNS records to be encrypted using 1024-bit encryption and stored in sub-folders which are hidden until paired with a public private key handshake with individuals, there is some protection from spammers.

For the same reason, the full extent of the effect the extra data will have on the DNS system is unknown.

Reliability of data

This TLD was released to trademark holders only until February 3, 2009, perhaps suggest that the resulting database of contact information can somehow be trusted as the "official" contact information of the "rightful owner" of those trademarks. However, after the short period of legitimate registrations restricted to trademark holders only (the "Sunrise" period[6]), anyone willing to pay a premium price was allowed to buy any domain name (the "Landrush" period[7]) regardless of who owned the trademark.

Furthermore, during "General Availability"[8] anyone is now be able to register any name (assuming that it is available for registration) without paying a premium price.

The information held under the .tel domain will be no more accurate or trustworthy than any other user defined data held in the DNS system. It will be down to individual .tel owners to choose what they wish to store there.

Differences from domain mobi

Since some of the sorts of services that are expected to use .tel domains can be achieved on mobile telephones, there may be a perceived overlap with the intended use of the mobi domain, which was also approved by ICANN in the same round.

However .tel is about publishing contact data: phone numbers, SIP addresses and so on directly in the DNS, not on html-based websites.[9], whereas the focus of the .mobi domain is providing web sites and other content formatted specifically for the user interface available on mobile phones and other mobile devices.

tel is viewable from both desktop and laptop PCs as well as mobile browsers due to the restriction of the A record, the reason for the proxy pages which are locked by Telnic and which provide the template for all .tel domains to be viewed on the web.

Alternative usage proposal also submitted an application[10] for the tel TLD, but had a different intent. This proposal involved telephone number style numeric identifiers. Alternative viewpoints claimed that this either complemented or conflicted with Telephone Number Mapping (ENUM). All-numeric identifiers are not available in the approved tel domain.


External links



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