.NAME could be the Killer App ENUM has been waiting for

Verisign is proposing to allow telephone numbers and other numeric identifiers in the .NAME top-level domain. This could be the Killer App that ENUM has been waiting for.

Verisign is proposing to allow telephone numbers and other numeric identifiers in the .NAME top-level domain.

This could be the Killer App that ENUM has been waiting for.

Their proposal says domains will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, but I wonder if this is missing a larger opportunity?

Why not require that the registrant demonstrate that the telephone number they are requesting is actually under their control?

We have had the same business landline and cell numbers for over 12 years now.  We are the only one who should be eligible to register them as a .NAME.

ENUM is a set of protocols designed to unify the telephone system with the internet.  The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards body has been working on it for over ten years.

EnCirca was one of the participants of an ENUM trial a few years ago.  ENUM domain names are not pretty.  For example, during the trial, “.arpa” was used as the testbed TLD.  Our business telephone number +1 (781) 942-9975 corresponded to the following domain name: 9975.942.781.1.arpa.  Now that is a domain that only a computer protocol could love!

But with .NAME, there is the opportunity to layer a more user-friendly layer on top of the ENUM naming convention.  For example, EnCirca’s business telephone number could have the domain 1-781-942-9975.NAME.   The hyphen is one way to delimeter the country code so it works globally.  There could be a better way.  But it is then trivial to map this to the ENUM-based domain of 9975.942.781.1.arpa.

For this to work, there would need to be a validation check during the registration process that the registrant of the numeric .NAME domain was in control of the corresponding telephone number.  This is a fairly simply call-back technology that is already in wide commercial use and was demonstrated during the ENUM trial.

With this type of marriage between the telephone system protocols and the DNS, the numeric .NAME domain has the potential of much more than a mere domain name. Imagine if Skype had its own TLD and you start to understand the possibilities.

Of course, I imagine there will be those who are purists or feel threatened with this type of innovation.  They might balk at the thought of private companies doing this instead of regulatory agencies.   Some will also say that TLD’s should not be allowed to evolve from their original charter.

But one can always dream.