I’ve always had a fondness for solutions that scribble in the margins of the Domain Name System. Today I saw a new one at the DEMO conference: Telnic, a service you can use to store basic personal or business information directly in the DNS. The service is associated with the .tel top-level domain. If you visit, say, henri.tel, which belongs to Henri Asseily, Telnic’s chief strategist, you’ll see a web page, but it’s rendered by a proxy that pulls the information from DNS records.
As Henri notes on his blog, which is one of the links advertised in henri.tel, the system at its core is a way to store key-value pairs in the DNS. Users control this data by way of a web-based management console. Developers of .tel-aware applications can use DNS directly, or can use access libraries provided by Telnic. An application might, for example, locate people by way of the LOC (location) record in their .tel domains.
You could, of course, use a web-based convention — like foaf.xml — to accomplish the same thing. People mostly don’t, though. Would a system bound more closely to DNS identity seem more natural and be more appealing? Maybe.