Voice over domain names? Namecheap files interesting patent application

Namecheap’s application describes a way to call people by domain name.

Namecheap patent diagram for voice over domain name system
A diagram from Namecheap’s patent for “Domain Communications System.”

Domain name registrar Namecheap has filed a U.S. patent application for a “domain communication system.”

The application (pdf) describes a system where you can contact someone using their domain name rather than a phone number. It makes a lot of claims, but it seems the idea is that a domain name owner can allow visitors to their site to click to call or message rather than having to provide a phone number. Here’s how Namecheap describes the problem its invention tries to solve:

Public switched telephone network (PSTN) has been in use for more than a century. A traditional PSTN enables a first user to call a second user using a telephone. The telephone call is routed through a public switching exchange. The first user needs to remember the digital phone number of the second user which can be ten digits or more in length. With newer cell phone devices, the users can access a directory to search and call other users. However, traditional telephonic communications have various limitations. For example, it is often difficult to separate the business and personal lines using a single telephone device. For business users, such separation is very useful to attend to the needs of their clients in a timely manner and balance the needs of their business with their privacy. It is also difficult to provide additional features using traditional telephone systems. Features such as call back and knowing the reason of the call can be useful for business owners to efficiently serve their clients. With most businesses using online presence in the world wide web, it is desired to provide a communication solution that can provide a seamless data, voice, and video communication mechanism to domain name owners.

I’m unaware of any current product from Namecheap that does this, but perhaps something is in the works.

Namecheap filed a provisional patent application in November 2021 and filed the current application in November 2022. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published the application today.

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