Government // Mobile & Wireless
Commentary
2/15/2010
03:51 PM
Jake Widman
Jake Widman
Commentary
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New Domain Provides Global Business Directory

SMBs can use a .tel address to put all their contact information in one accessible, mobile-friendly location and easily organize and update it.

SMBs can use a .tel address to put all their contact information in one accessible, mobile-friendly location and easily organize and update it.The .tel domain was established last March as a way for individuals and businesses to publish all their contact information at one easy-to-remember address -- businessname.tel, for example. When customers call up that address in their browser or on their cell phone, they see phone numbers, e-mail addresses, Skype accounts, URLs, links to maps -- whatever of over a dozen types of contact info the business cares to provide. The information can be organized in folders, so that each business location can have its own page of contact info. To initiate communication, the customer can just click on the appropriate link to create an e-mail, open Skype, or even (if they're accessing the page from their cell phone) dial a phone number. A good example of a company .tel page with addresses and subcategories is Nestle.tel.

What sets .tel entries apart from regular contact Web pages is that the information isn't actually stored on a Web page -- it's stored in the DNS servers that translate URLs into specific IP addresses. This means, first of all, that since it's not on your website, it's accessible to customers even if your site goes down or your Internet service is interrupted. Second, it's easy to set up and manage. You enter the information on a form at the .tel registrar's site, which requires no knowledge of HTML or Web programming. And to update or change the information, you just visit the registrar's management dashboard, rather than having to call in your Web designer or service provider.

You can also set up more than one set of contact information as different profiles and change profiles as needed. For example, you might have one profile for when you're in the office and another for when you're traveling, with just your cell phone and other ways you can be contacted when out of the office. When you're on a business trip, just swap profiles to keep your contact info current.

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One registrar, Telnic, also offers a free iPhone app that permits complete management of a .tel account, as well as apps for BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and (coming) Android smartphones that provide limited management functions. Telnic also provides a website integration tool and code samples that can feed .tel information into an actual Contact Us Web page, enabling businesses to update their contact pages themselves by changing their .tel data. They are also working on enabling some customization features, so that businesses can brand their .tel pages.

Establishing a .tel address can cost as little as $9.99/year. You can establish your business's profile and find a registrar at the Telnic site here.

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