Identity management service Telnic, which runs the .tel domain, announced on Tuesday that registering for a .tel domain has gone from its initial "land rush" phase into general availability.
Tens of thousands of domains have been sold so far, communications director Justin Hayward told CNET News, and the company will be having a launch event on Tuesday evening in New York to start spreading the word.
Telnic is sort of hoping that a .tel URL will become the online equivalent of a business card or, as Hayward put it, "one permanent point of contact, a bit like a telephone number." A .tel domain aggregates a list of chosen contact points--Web site, e-mail, telephone, social-network profiles, location data, etc.--and aims to be both flexible (if your telephone number changes when you go from one country to another, for example) and ironclad when it comes to privacy controls.
In conjunction, the London-based Telnic has announced that News Corp.-owned social network MySpace is now a .tel vendor and that MySpace users can purchase .tel domains directly for $19.99 per year, starting on Wednesday. This is part of .tel's strategy to make its domain-purchasing process more consumer-friendly than the norm.
"We're delighted that MySpace will be offering .tel domains to its community, enabling them to more quickly and easily manage all aspects of their online life," Telnic CEO Khashayar Mahdavi said in a release. "MySpace is exactly the type of partner that has the foresight to see the .tel (domain) as a complementary product, providing choices as social networkers adopt new modes of communication while they continue to enjoy the benefits of MySpace."
The .tel domain originallylast September. Right now, one of the most promising opportunities for the space is on the mobile front--using these electronic records as a way to exchange contact information in a meet-and-greet context.
A lot of this will depend on third-party developer activity (think iPhone applications). But Hayward said one of .tel's resellers, IWantMyName.com, can enable prospective users to complete the registration process entirely on an iPhone.
The other company generating buzz in this space is Chi.mp, a San Francisco start-up that offers members their own .mp domains. Both Chi.mp and .tel allow members to divide their profiles up into public and varying degrees of friends-only access.