Telnic, the main registrar for these domains. Users and companies can only put up their contact information on these sites and they can only do so through Telnic's own forms.Starting today, companies and trademark holders can start registering their own .tel domains. However, unlike most domain names, .tel domains are severely restricted by
During the current 'Sunrise' phase, only trademark holders can register .tel domains. The general public will have to wait until the 'Landrush' phase, which starts on February 3, 2009.
At its best, .tel domains could become something like an online phonebook, though the minimal amount of flexibility will surely disappoint many potential users. In its current state, .tel users can't even add their own logos to these domains.
GoDaddy and Chi.mp
GoDaddy and Chi.mp might be targeting a slightly different audience, but users get far more flexibility with these products, including the ability to aggregate their activity on social networks and to apply different themes and logos to their profiles.
In the end, the success of the .tel domains will depend on third-party developers. If other websites, social networks, or mobile phone address books start supporting these domains (and those of Telnic's competitors), then this might become an easy way to keep address books up to date. But then, you could also do this with any service that provides you with a vCard.
Can it Work?
In an age where the Internet is still synonymous with .com addresses (or their local equivalent) for the vast majority of users, it remains to be seen if these .tel domains will find a lot of takers. Also, the average price for .tel domains for individuals we found from US registrars was around $20, which is a lot more than most people pay for their .com domains - and those give their owners a lot more flexibility.