Tel. domains – the future of digital business cards? Interview with Khashayar Mahdavi, CEO Telnic Ltd.

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Kashayar Mahdavi

One-on-One Interview with Khashayar Mahdavi
CEO, Telnic Ltd. (since 2003) –

Khashayar Mahdavi has successfully steered the company Telnic. Ltd. through the 2004 ICANN application, and is now managing the process to launch the .tel service. He previously worked in the international department of Lazard Frères in Paris, where he led government advisory assignments, which included corporate reorganizations, privatizations, debt restructurings and bond offerings on the international capital markets. Mr. Mahdavi holds a degree in finance from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris and an M.Phil in Economics from Oxford University.

The Strategy Web interviewed Mr. Mahdavi to get his view on the relevance of .tel domains for businesses purposes.

Q: Congratulations! Your .tel domains commercial just recently won the domain name video awards. Is it so successful because of the wonderful woman, the story board or the power of the .tel domains?
Khashayar Mahdavi Thank you! We were very pleased with the online commercial, as were our partners, some of whom have taken it and shown it on television stations here in the UK through to cinemas in Germany. I think all three points that you mention are the reason why the commercial has been very successful in supporting .tel registrations. We aimed to get the functionality across with simplicity and humor and Victoria Pile, a very successful television director here in the UK who has a history of very funny and successful comedy programs was gracious enough to create something powerful, engaging and entertaining for us. And of course we were pleased to have Laura Haddock in it!

Q: Will .tel domains become the new digital business cards?
Khashayar Mahdavi From the moment .tel domains were accessible, they instantly became the new digital business cards, amongst other uses. There are many people that have contacted us to say that they’ve simplified their email signatures, printed business cards and other points of contact down to just a .tel domain. There’s no other system that can provide access to contact information with encryption built in for sharing private information that also operates as a single point of contact and which can be accessed by any device connected to the internet. So technically, yes, it is the de facto standard, but obviously it’s very early on in its life-cycle and still in early adopter phase, so we’ve yet to engage the mass market in discovering how simple it is to use and share.

Q: What are the latest figures about registrations and feature trends?
Khashayar Mahdavi We’ve passed a quarter of a million registrations which we’re very pleased about and registrations continue to rise. This is mainly through our existing relationships with ICANN registrars – those organizations that specialize in selling domain names – but new resellers, such as Blenz Coffee (with 55 outlets in Canada), PR Newswire (a global news distribution network) and other organizations which have never had an interest in selling domain names previously, are coming on board very soon with direct relationships and messages to a whole new community who can benefit from the service that a .tel domain provides, without them having the hang-ups of it being a domain name in the traditional sense.

Our feature developments are a matter of public record on our website, but we’ve recently added multi-lingual support to sub-folders, which effectively enable multi-lingual sub-domains, which is useful when supporting customers in multiple countries and communities. Additionally, we’re working on new applications for the Android to supplement our BlackBerry, iPhone and Windows Mobile applications, enabling more and more people to manage and lookup .tel domains on their handsets easily and at low cost. We’re always getting more suggestions and feedback from the .tel community and there will be a couple more features popping up soon.

Q: Can we expect an evolution of .tel domains into some kind of community comparable to Facebook or Twitter?
Khashayar Mahdavi Every .tel owner is automatically part of a community and, if they use the free TelFriends service, can begin to connect in more meaningful ways by sharing private contact information or links to content, pictures, music and so on, today. However, the intention is that the owner of a .tel domain has a unique place that they own, with which they can decide how they use it. A .tel domain is inherently about relationships and communication, and making that a smooth transaction; what it isn’t about is hosting rich content, games, music and other content directly – it is a single point of contact to help the .tel owner point to those places where they can if they so wish engage, so that friends can then participate on those platforms.

However, we will be building functionality into the .tel to enable status updates to be placed in a .tel perhaps being drawn directly from Twitter or Facebook or another service, which enable some kind of direct communication with others. A .tel isn’t meant to replace any communications channels however, but to be an open platform from which a .tel owner can publish different contact points as new solutions emerge.

Q: Why should companies use .tel domains for their web-strategy?
Khashayar Mahdavi There are at least two benefits that we would suggest will benefit a company, regardless of whether they have a website already or not. The first is that a .tel domain is accessible from any device connected to the internet, so it immediately provides a mobile-optimized presence without any hassle or additional cost. Looking at the growth in the mobile internet, this has to be a consideration for companies today, to be discoverable on mobile devices. The second is that a .tel domain is a strong tool in the search engine optimization arsenal, providing the ability to store inbound links and link relationships with the main website whilst not being disregarded as providing duplicate content by search engines. We are hearing of positive results even after a short time of .tel domains being live in Google, through the good use of .tel domains for links and keyword content. We believe that this in itself is justification for the cheapest $20 a company can spend on SEO! Of course there are more benefits, like the fact that VoIP phones such as Kiax, voipGATE and digitrad all can ‘dial’ a .tel domain directly, enabling people to brand their communications online also. Additionally, because the information is stored in the DNS, there are no websites to go down, so it’s a permanent point of contact in case of emergency.

Q: Which .tel domains can you recommend as case studies for companies?
Khashayar Mahdavi There are many examples of good .tel domains for individuals, small and large businesses and new emerging directory services companies on our site at – but I would flag up a couple including (the UK’s largest footwear retailer), (a local cinema using real-time data about screenings to update people on mobile devices) and (an example of a directory, listing all of the House of Representatives, but which could equally be individuals in any large organisation). We’ve also had some great individual examples from (An American Idol participant from the US) through to Canadian-based Realtor In Germany, some good examples include through to But there are many other examples.

Thank you for the interview and your time, Mr. Mahdavi!

PS: Sure… The Strategy Web and Martin do have .tel domains – check them out: and

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4 Kommentare zu "Tel. domains – the future of digital business cards? Interview with Khashayar Mahdavi, CEO Telnic Ltd."

  1. Tel. domains – the future of digital business cards? Interview … | ArtykułyNet am 12.11.2009 18:05 

    […] original post here: Tel. domains – the future of digital business cards? Interview … Kontynuuj czytanie » || Napisał dnia: 12.11.09. || Tagi:ceo, interview, khashayar, […]

  2. OpenSRS Reseller Services » OpenSRS Reseller Blog » Blog Archive » The Registries: .TEL am 08.12.2009 13:16 

    […] Interview with CEO, Khashayar Mahdavi […]

  3. henrylow am 19.12.2009 06:30 

    The Center for Media Research has released a study by Vertical Response that shows just where many of these ‘Main Street’ players are going with their online dollars. The big winners: e-mail and social media. With only 3.8% of small business folks NOT planning on using e-mail marketing and with social media carrying the perception of being free (which they so rudely discover it is far from free) this should make some in the banner and search crowd a little wary.

  4. Martin Meyer-Gosser am 19.12.2009 12:03 

    Thanks Henry for the mention. Here is the link to the study…

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