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worldflow have recently begun to examine the use and application of .tel domains in financial services.

On initial examination these domains have a striking resemblance to the invention of eternity rings by De Beers in the 1960’s.

Faced with declining sales and a glut of cheap small low quality diamonds from Russia, they had to invent a new way to sell these diamonds, to keep prices up. They went about this by packing many of these small diamonds into a single ring. Every woman who was married then became a new customer target for these rings, and every married man was pressured by the guilt of not declaring eternal love for their wife. Sales boomed, with the added bonus that the glut of produce they had was moved off the shelves and onto women’s fingers, and diamond’s stayed a rare and expensive commodity..

.tel bears a striking resembelnce from the outside to this type of marketing. We have declining domain sales, due to saturation and recession, domains are more available than for several years as firms fold. Additionally there is a a free cheap resource in the shape of the Domain Name Services (DNS).

So the marketing folks have invented the .tel domain. Not even a domain, much like Pluto is now not even a planet. So there is no email, web, forwarding, FTP etc associated with these .tel domains. Just a small DNS entry for each .tel domain.

The principal is every company, and indeed an individual needs a .tel DNS entry. They can then add them to a global directory that anyone can look up. This then becomes a way to store the companies contact details. The basics are company name, description, contact names (limited), web address and phone numbers.

Using the tools supplied free from telnic.org, including iphone and Blackberry utilities, the company can set this data up and then add the .tel domain to their web site, business cards, and hopefully begin to appear in the next generation of online directories to browse .tel entries.

worldflow have setup our .tel domain. Type worldflow.tel into the address bar on your browser. Having tried this on IE6, Firefox, Safari and a Nokia N97 and the formatting looks fine. However as at today, we haven’t managed to pull up folders we setup to further describe the organisation. And ours is a fairly small organisation.

worldflow are working to understand the wider use of the .tel domain, if there is one. If there is one we will find it.

What is clear is that the initial implementations are very basic. For an individual, or a SME this looks like it may add some value. But not much above just typing the name into Google.

The structures as exposed from DNS to the external world are currently not obviously scalable to a larger organisation.

We haven’t had the time yet to look at the secure nature of these offerings. They appear controlled, but at present the access control is a simple name / password combination which will not scale for larger organisations either.

Once the global directories are there, the depth (number of entries) of the product expands, and the ability to control access effectively to administration and browsing restrictions, the information could be quite valuable. Right now, although we have been active on .tel domains for a couple of weeks, and we do not appear in the sample directories yet. So this is still a work in progress.

An eternity ring won’t solve a bad marriage; but it might help longer term to pull you closer to your chosen one. And ultimately could save you the costs of a divorce.

Your .tel domain won’t add a huge amount of value to your company yet. But if someone else has it, by the time the value is realisable, you will be unable to realise it.

For now, register your .tel while it’s still there. Or you could end up spending a lot more trying to get it back from someone else, once you figure out what it can be used for..

For advice on this or any other concerns around your web presence, client connectivity or other financial services issues please contact us.

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