Archive for March, 2009

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 originally launched at the Demo conference last 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.

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Big customers, a top-flight engineering staff and $110 million in venture backing was not enough to save Hammerhead Systems Inc., a data-switching company that closed its doors on Thursday.

“We were in a Catch-22 situation, and we are a casualty of the economy,” said Rob Keil, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company’s chief executive.

Hammerhead planned to sell its Ethernet aggregation switches to major telecom carriers and had inked major deals with two of them, Keil said. But to continue, the company needed to enlist more carriers as customers, something that proved tricky in the current economic climate.

“We had them excited about our technology,” Keil said, “but they wanted to get the financial viability issue off the table. The carriers liked the product and the team, but they needed us to have a partner…for financial stability. It just wasn’t possible to get the carriers comfortable.”

Partnering with a name-brand networking hardware company might have catapulted Hammerhead to success, he said. “But as the economy melted down, the prospective partners became risk-averse,” Keil said.

Keil could not disclose which hardware companies Hammerhead approached, or which two carriers had agreed to buy the company’s switches.

Hammerhead made a data switch that routs information for carriers. The switches collect data circuits from the carriers’ customers, aggregate them, and rout them back to the operators’ core networks. This process, said company spokeswoman Mari Mineta Clapp, enables carriers to use much of their aging equipment to keep up with the demands of today’s smart phone traffic, including backhaul and Ethernet functionality needs.

Read the full WSJ article from By Timothy Hay here

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The new top-level domain .tel began the go-live process on March 6. Unlike older domain iterations, .tel is not designed for hosting conventional Web sites. Instead, it uses the domain name system to store and transmit contact information that domain holders customize for content, keywords and privacy.

Here we examine how .tel will revolutionize social media and extend social networking features to cellular telephone networks. We also look at how .tel provides directory services and supports unified communication platforms.

The new .tel domain is not meant to replace or compete with older domain name extensions. Nor is it designed to provide an identity system for financial institutions.


The new domain uses the domain name system to store and communicate contact data and associated keywords. These contact records will create the world’s largest directory of businesses and individuals, supported by privacy features that allow access to some or all contact information to be kept accessible only to those who have been granted permission by the record holder.

The privacy features of .tel adopt the “friending” principles of social networking Web sites without competing with instant message systems such as Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) More about Yahoo Messenger, Live Messenger, Jabber, Skype More about Skype or the micro-blogging platforms Twitter More about Twitter and Identi.ca. Instead, .tel will facilitate messaging and social network platforms by providing a neutral identity management tool that any platform or service can access.

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You might think that the last thing the internet needs is another top-level domain. Website owners can already choose between more than 200 possible endings for their internet addresses, ranging from the familiar .com to the exotic .xn-zckzah. But starting today, anyone in the world will be able to buy a domain ending in .tel – and the company selling them is convinced they will help to make the internet easier to navigate, not less.

Telnic, the UK firm that invented the .tel domain, says it will offer a kind of “phone book for the internet”. The owners of .tel domains will not be able to upload and maintain web pages, as they can for other top-level domains (TLDs) – they will only be able to store contact details such as names, telephone numbers, web and email addresses.

A demonstration profile at emma.tel offers a taste of what .tel offers. Visitors are presented with details including Emma’s full name, street address, email address, Skype details and location. All those details can be updated instantly at any time.

Subdomains of a single .tel domain can be used to maintain separate profiles: for example, the demonstration site for Henri Asseily maintains separate profiles for his gaming and social activities. And users can make some of their information private, granting access only to people that they have given “friend” status.

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With IBM reportedly in talks to buy Sun Microsystems, industry experts say the two tech giants — both of which earned early fortunes by selling expensive hardware — are looking to a future based on a much broader range of computing gear, software and tech services.

“It’s about the whole data center,” said Chris Foster, a veteran analyst at Technology Business Research, noting that a deal would give IBM control over Sun’s cornerstone Java programming language and other valuable software, as well as access to hardware customers and highly profitable contracts for consulting and other services.

Both companies declined to comment Wednesday on reports that IBM is negotiating a possible $6.5 billion purchase of Sun — a deal that would shake up the global tech industry and spell the demise of a venerable but now-struggling Silicon Valley pioneer. After its founding in 1982, Sun built a hugely successful business selling powerful computer workstations and later the servers behind much of the first Internet boom.

News of the talks first surfaced Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the discussions. While those sources said a deal could be struck this week, analysts said it is by no means certain, and even suggested Sun might entertain offers from other suitors.

Read the full article from siliconvalley.com here.

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