Dot-com Turns 25: You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby

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Dot-com, you’ve grown up so fast! Seems like only yesterday you were just an innocent top-level domain running around the kitchen in your diapers. We knew you’d turn into something special, though, no doubt about it.

In recognition of your 25th birthday, we’d like to take a look back at all you’ve accomplished. This is your life, Dot-com.

March 15, 1985: Symbolics.com is the first dot-com name registered. A star is born! Computer manufacturer, Symbolics, closes its doors in July of 2005.

September 1991: Maintenance operations for dot-com domain names is sub-contracted to Network Solutions by the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency. Domain names are given out free of charge. Registration services would later be expanded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

November 19, 1993: Time.com is registered! For free!

December 1, 1993: Single-letter dot-com domain names are taken off the market by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. Those that had already been registered and still exist today include q.com (Qwest), x.com (PayPal Developer Network), and z.com (Nissan).

Sometime in 1994: Sex.com is registered by Gary Kremen, who goes on to eventually build Match.com. At the time, Sex.com has no actual web page.

September 1995: Network Solutions begins charging $50 per year for domain names and requires names to be registered for two years and paid for up front. Of every $100 spent on a domain name, $30 goes to the National Science Foundation.

October 18, 1995: Sex.com is stolen by Stephen M. Cohen, who uses some tricky fax forgery to get Network Solutions to transfer the name to him. He puts actual content on the site, ending more than ten years of people typing Sex.com into their browsers and getting a blank page. Gary Kremen eventually wins the name back in November of 2000 after a series of lawsuits.

March 1997: A lawsuit is filed against Network Solution alleging that the 30% of each $100 domain name sale that’s given to the National Science Foundation is an illegal tax. Two-year domain name pricing is eventually lowered to $70.

June 21, 1997: Techland.com is registered! It expires on June 20th of this year. Hopefully it’ll be renewed before some squatter snatches it up. If not, looks like Genius Club might be put back in the running.

September 15, 1997: Google.com is registered. Also around this time, active dot-com domains surpass 1 million in number.

September 18, 1998: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is created. A non-profit organization, ICANN is tasked with managing domain names and IP addresses. By 1999 it’s managed to marginalize Network Solutions’ power by opening up domain name registration to resellers at a wholesale cost of $6 per domain name.

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