Personal top-level domains try to bridge communication gaps

The new .mp and .tel top-level domains, intended to serve as vehicle for personal identification, are being premiered this week. Though similar in purpose, the two are very different in function.

Telnic has marketed its .tel domain almost like a ".tel-ephone book," where the user keeps the personal domain as an updatable contact sheet. It provides a simple back end interface with contact information fields (physical address, mobile number, skypeid, email, weblink, fax, IM, etc.) which can be filled in and published.

The information given is categorized into links, which can automatically launch the corresponding application. For example, when a user's AIM ID is clicked on, an instant messaging client will open on the desktop. Or if the site is accessed via a mobile phone browser, clicking on a telephone number will automatically dial it.

The .mp TLD, run by, is being marketed in the same way as .name by Global Name Registry. A user creates his personal domain (i.e., "") as an OpenID host site used to interact with all of a user's accounts on participating sites. The company likens a domain name to a phone number, which can be kept by the same person irrespective of the network they're subscribing to. When on one social network or another, the fundamental contact information will remain.

The company hopes a selling point will be the disunity between Facebook and its partners with OpenID supporters such as Yahoo and MySpace. Using open standards like OpenID, Oauth, Attribute Exchange, and Atom, attempts to break down the frequently-referenced "walled garden" quality of many sites.

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