The new top-level domain .tel launched Wednesday. Called by some “the Internet phone book,” .tel is an ID-management domain. “The launch of .tel represents the most significant innovation in the domain name system since the advent of .com. Essentially, the .tel offers businesses of all sizes a fast, efficient, adaptable and intelligent service that will let customers interact with them in any way they want. Anyone that wants to communicate better with their customers should purchase a .tel,” said Khashayar Mahdavi, CEO of Telnic, the company that owns the domain. These are not the typical websites, like with .com and .org postfixes.  .Tel is a public contact list, listing users’ email, phone number, skype ID, and other contact information. It should make changing email addresses and phone numbers easier, as people wanting to contact you need only go to your domain to find your contact info.

Infomation may be both public and private, and will automatically change your contacts as you do. Open source applications have been developed for mobile and off-line use. More are in development.

From now until February 2, when .tel goes live, only trademark owners will be able to buy .tel domains. Premium subscriptions will be available after that, and lower cost domains will go on sale March 24.

Registration during the initial phase will cost around $400 for three years, though costs will be about $20 after March 24.

By Mark Alvarez