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Networking The Internet Technology

25 Years of the .com gTLD 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'm-not-sure-where-to-send-the-hallmark-card dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The domain COM was installed as one of the first set of top-level domains when the Domain Name System was first implemented for use on the Internet in January 1985. The internet celebrates a landmark event on the 15th of March — the 25th anniversary of the day the first .com name was registered. Of the 250 million websites, there are over 80 million active .com sites. In March 1985, Symbolics computers of Cambridge, Massachusetts entered the history books with an internet address ending in .com (however, on 27 August 2009, it was sold to XF.com Investments). That same year another five companies jumped on a very slow bandwagon. Here is a list of the 100 oldest still-existing registered .com domains."
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25 Years of the .com gTLD

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  • Who were they?
  • No .. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    No microsoft.com ?

    • Re:No .. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dilligent (1616247) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:20PM (#31487978) Homepage

      No microsoft.com ?

      Microsoft didnae believe in the internet... it was not until the mid 90ies when they realised that it had taken off without them aboard.

    • Re:No .. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:25PM (#31488060) Homepage Journal
      Microsoft thought the internet was a fad and that everybody would use a Microsoft-branded network (can't remember the name, it was similar to Compuserve or something). I remember having to install Trumpet or WinSocket or whatever the name was, just to add TCP/IP to Windows 3.11 so I could browse websites.
      • Re:No .. (Score:4, Informative)

        by isorox (205688) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:30PM (#31488154) Homepage Journal

        Microsoft thought the internet was a fad and that everybody would use a Microsoft-branded network (can't remember the name, it was similar to Compuserve or something

        The Microsoft Network - MSN - came with win95.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)
        Quite a lot of people thought the internet was a fad. The big thing was with LANs, and there were several competing networking protocols in the LAN arena. You didn't need the internet to send global email or documents (plenty of internet gateways took care of that). It took a long time for TCP/IP to catch on, but because the protocol was open and understandable and not tied to a vendor it had plenty of opportunities to grow.
        • I am confused. You didn't need the internet to send email or documents because you had internet gateways? Either you mistyped that sentence or you need to clarify what you mean.
          • by Darinbob (1142669)
            You didn't need the internet in your office, or even TCP/IP, or even a LAN really. Internet gateway meant you could have mail from your network or computer make its way onto the proto-internet, and then it might even leave that internet onto another type of network. Ie, usenet for a couple of explicitly specified hops, then onto the internet, then passed onto SPANNET (DECNET based space research network).
          • There were lots of proprietary email systems. You could send intra-office email without the Internet and big companies just had leased lines or even dial-up connections that did store-and-forward messaging between sites, without the Internet. Big proprietary networks like Compuserve and AOL had their own email systems and you could communicate with their users without connecting to the Internet.

            Back then, more home users had access to Compuserve or AOL than had Internet access. My father's company had

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by W3bbo (727049)
        Not quite so true, I'm afraid.

        Whilst Microsoft was late to the party (we're talking early-1990s) they never had the impression they could supplant the Internet with something proprietary.

        The "Walled Gardens" of the 1990s (AOL, CompuServe, The Microsoft Network, etc) were just value-added content layers on top of services provided by the Internet and all included access to the World Wide Web.

        So basically MSN (the original one) was Microsoft's competitor to AOL and not "The Internet".

        Microsoft didn't
        • Re:No .. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by nxtw (866177) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:29PM (#31489452)

          The "Walled Gardens" of the 1990s (AOL, CompuServe, The Microsoft Network, etc) were just value-added content layers on top of services provided by the Internet and all included access to the World Wide Web.

          Except for perhaps MSN, these services included access to only parts of the Internet. CompuServe added Internet email access earlier than the others in 1989, and AOL added Usenet in 1993. Prodigy added a web browser (no sockets support) in 1994.

          I don't think these services started offering real Internet (with TCP sockets support) until after the release of Windows 95.

          Much the same reason IPv6 wasn't added to Windows until Vista even though IPv6's specifications were stable enough by the release of XP SP2 in 2005.

          IPv6 wasn't enabled by default until Vista, but was included with XP from the beginning. (The version included with the original XP release was included as an unsupported preview.) MS also released experimental IPv6 implementations for NT4 and 2000.

          • by Jon_S (15368)

            Yeah, I had an AOL account back in the early/mid 90's. I remember Steve Case e-mailing all the AOL members that they have heard the many requests from members for access to this "world wide web" thing and that perhaps someday they would actually allow access to it through AOL.

            Strange days indeed.

          • by houghi (78078)

            The first Windows95 CD was without Internet Explorer. My ISP send me one floppy with Netscape 1.0 [houghi.org] on it. Also Trupet WInsock for Win3.1 and an emailprogram, but for Windows 95, the connection was already available.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          The "Walled Gardens" of the 1990s (AOL, CompuServe, The Microsoft Network, etc) were just value-added content layers on top of services provided by the Internet

          No, they weren't. AOL and CompuServe, and most of the other online services (not sure about MSN) ran their own proprietary networks, using non-IP protocols.

          and all included access to the World Wide Web.

          Eventually, yes, but they didn't start out doing that. They all wanted to be The Future Of Online Services, and hoped the internet would go away quietly, or at least stay restricted to educational and government use.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by digitalcowboy (142658)

          The "Walled Gardens" of the 1990s (AOL, CompuServe, The Microsoft Network, etc) were just value-added content layers on top of services provided by the Internet and all included access to the World Wide Web.

          I'm not sure if you're wrong about this or I've misunderstood what you're trying to say. But (unfortunately) I wasted a couple months in the mid 90's doing (outsourced) tech support for CompuServe, after first discovering it on a Commodore VIC-20 in 1981 with a 300 baud "coupler" style modem that requir

        • by pipingguy (566974)
          Sheesh, memory lane. I was no early adopter, but I remember my 14.4 modem-equipped 486DX66 connecting to CompuServe. Then I discovered the REAL internet via Matrox's Spherenet.
      • by SgtAaron (181674)

        I remember having to install Trumpet or WinSocket or whatever the name was, just to add TCP/IP to Windows 3.11 so I could browse websites.

        Close! Strange how memory works. Put those two together and you get "Trumpet Winsock". You just tickled a few memories: I remember I was really happy to buy Win95 so I wouldn't have to deal with Trumpet Winsock anymore. Well, and let's face it, it was an improvement to 3.11, but really I think my packard hell computer ran the older much faster than the new, but networking was easier. Thanks to the internet I found slackware linux some few months later. No more winsock.dll... :)

        As for the story topic, l

    • by jonadab (583620)
      In the eighties, are you kidding? Microsoft was still selling DOS. Networking, even at the LAN level, hadn't even occurred to them yet. People with modems (a small minority) could dial a BBS...
  • by Jazz-Masta (240659) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:22PM (#31488010)

    When it was only InterNIC assigning domain names, it was $100/year, and then $70/year. I remember carefully choosing which domains to register - and so did everyone else. There were very few squatters back then.

    I believe passing the torch to ICANN, and then having GoDaddy (Wild West) pop up offering $6 .COM will be remembered as the ruin of the Internet. Not to mention the 2-3 day "evaluation" period where squatters could hold a domain without paying for it.

    Now they've opened up .CO (Columbian) for non-Columbian registration. Pre-registration is $299, and the registrars are trying to push it as the next big TLD.

    • by toastar (573882)

      When it was only InterNIC assigning domain names, it was $100/year, and then $70/year. I remember carefully choosing which domains to register - and so did everyone else. There were very few squatters back then.

      I believe passing the torch to ICANN, and then having GoDaddy (Wild West) pop up offering $6 .COM will be remembered as the ruin of the Internet. Not to mention the 2-3 day "evaluation" period where squatters could hold a domain without paying for it.

      Now they've opened up .CO (Columbian) for non-Columbian registration. Pre-registration is $299, and the registrars are trying to push it as the next big TLD.

      While I don't disagree on any one point, Godaddy came much later then the endless September, At least on an timetable on scale with the age of the internet.

      • Although Godaddy was around shortly after that, it didn't start to gain momentum until 2002, and only in 2005 did it surpase Network Solutions.

        I guess I could have generalized it more and simply said low cost domain services as Dotster, eNOM, were around and about the same size.

        • by toastar (573882)

          GoDaddy didn't start until 1999, The internet became mainstream in 1995-ish.

          I was using AOL in 94.

          5 years in internet time is like 30 years in any other technology.

    • by qwijibo (101731) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:39PM (#31488268)

      Back in my day, we didn't have to pay for domains. They were free, you just set up a couple of name servers and emailed in a form. I remember sending uunet $50 back then, not for the domain, but for them to set up a couple of name servers to be authoritative for the domain. When I had my own machines on the net, I provided name servers for free so others could get domains without spending a penny.

    • by MrCawfee (13910) <mrcawfee @ y a h o o .com> on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:44PM (#31488324) Homepage

      Godaddy had the 9.95 price point when their competition was ~25/yr, and it wasn't immediate. .CO is the .new .CM. I work at a registrar and almost all of our .CM registrations tend to be screened out using fake credit cards. Even after it goes live and the price point for .CO is probally going to be ~60/yr, that is still too expensive for the "legitimate" squatter to put up their advertising pages. Judging from the .CM registrations at my company that got through the screening process, they tend to be deleted within a few months when the credit card dispute comes through. The registry doesn't care because they have already gotten their registration fee. I'd say that atleast 50% of our .CM registrations are screened out as fraud automatically, and the remainder are a mix between companies trying for brand protection and fraud. .CO will never be a big legitimate tld, my feeling is that you are going to see:
          a) .CO domains parked or forwarded by legitimate users for brand protection
          b) .CO domains parked by the registrar due to a chargeback so they can get atleast some of the money they lost back.
          c) .CO domains parked by the client until the company that owns the name goes through the dispute process.

      Bad thing for the internet, good thing for Columbia, good for .

    • Who should have kept the price high? InterNIC? So, the booty of the late 90's, and now the early 21st century is a bad thing? Rather than snarl at the squatters, they should have made squatting less attractive by allowing more TLDs. A lot of people might be pleased that .xxx will be opening up soon. Imagine the possibilities now! se.xxx sells.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HaeMaker (221642)

      I don't remember it being $100. When I registered hae.com, it was $30 one time to my ISP (InterNIC didn't charge) to setup the domain, DNS, and sendmail. Other ISPs charged per month to maintain the domain, so it was a good deal. This was back in the mid 90s when it was fashionable to get a "vanity plate" domain.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Ron Atkinson (546834)
      I don't remember it ever being $100, you probably paid for 2 years. When I got my first domain name in the early 90's before the commercialization of the Internet domain name registration was free. I had my name for a couple of years at no charge (also had a class C subnet assigned to me, which I turned back in last year to ARIN). After the InterNIC transferred from SRI over to Network Solutions (think it was 1994 or so), and the Internet became commercial, the government decided to charge $50 for domain na
    • by houghi (78078)

      They should never have gone with the generic domain names. nstead just the country names. That would ahve been *.us for the USA. "What about debian.org" you might ask or shlashdot.org? They would have been debian.org.us.
      "But that is not international!" you might moan. Well, neither is .com, .net or .org. Basically they are US domains. So instead of a .com, people or companies would have a .com.us name.

      Even names like nato.int should be registerd in each country that wants it.

      It would then be up to each coun

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:22PM (#31488012)

    I felt a bit old, and maybe a bit humbled, to see a number of smallish Pacific Northwest companies that are on that list but no longer exist. When I first got out of college I'd interviewed at some of those places!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Which ones are you talking about? Both Fluke and Tektronix still exist (though the latter not in its former glory) and Boeing was still in business last time I checked (albeit with HQ now in Chicago). As is Mentor Graphics, etc., etc. And I've actually worked for a couple of those...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        The two that immediately jumped out at me were Teltone and Data I/O. Technically both still exist; but after buyouts, bankruptcies, and acquisitions I don't believe either one has anything to do with the original companies other than some continuity of legal rights to the names. I had an internship at Teltone way back in the early 80s.

        I don't think of Fluke nor Tektronix as being smallish, really - although I realize compared to ATT or IBM they are. And Boeing is huge by almost any standard.

    • So what you're saying is I should never let you interview for any position I offer? Did you do something to anger a Gypsy or something?

      • So what you're saying is I should never let you interview for any position I offer? Did you do something to anger a Gypsy or something?

        I've never thought of that - you may be right! I've been long aware of a personal history of killing TV shows; the ones I really like tend to die off pretty quick (Quark, Max Headroom, and Twin Peaks come to mind; La Femme Nikita somehow made it through a bit over 4 seasons despite my fanship). So maybe the job thing is just another aspect of that... this university has been having financial trouble the last couple years!

  • I knew it! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:25PM (#31488070)

    25. 05-Aug-1986 STARGATE.COM

    This precedes the movie by 8 years. Do you know what that means? It's all real! I knew it! I am so getting myself an F-302. Cheyenne Mountain, here I come.

  • Both AMD and Intel are on the list, along with many hardware companies.

    Funny:
    - Apple, IBM and Sun are present
    - Microsoft is absent

    Strangely missing:
    - sex.com
    - porn.com
    (etc)
    • by Fred_A (10934)

      Strangely missing:
      - sex.com
      - porn.com
      (etc)

      People still knew about Usenet back then.
      And Goopher sex was only for furries.

  • Fanboyism (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Yvanhoe (564877) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:32PM (#31488190) Journal
    Apple is there.
    Microsoft is not.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tlhIngan (30335)

      Apple is there.
      Microsoft is not.

      Microsoft's site was registered sometime in the early 90's, as a test site for the Windows TCP/IP stack. Back in the days when you had to use Trumpet Winsock to connect, prior to Windows 95 (which came with Microsoft's Winsock stack). Of course, it had to be prepped for Win95's launch, but until then, it was really just test servers. It only went "live" after another Microsoft employee testing TCP/IP found it was live and traced it down the hall.

      http://www.microsoft.com/misc/ [microsoft.com]

  • by jschen (1249578) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:35PM (#31488220)
    I find it surprising that Alcoa is so high up the list, beating out big computer and communications tech names such as AMD, 3COM, Apple, and Cisco. I'm curious as to what compelled them to register a domain name way back in Nov 1986.
    • by tool462 (677306)

      Pure speculation on my part, but perhaps they had extensive involvement with universities and the DoD for research purposes, and so were actively involved in what preceded the internet as we know it today. Registering a .com may have been a pretty natural transition for them, based on what they were already doing.

      At any rate, it's only a few weeks between the registration date of Alcoa, 3com, and AMD. Cisco was still just a startup (started in 1984). Apple was only doing PCs, and PCs on the internet was

      • by Darinbob (1142669)
        True, probably all of those first 100 sign-ups were from companies who were already on the internet.
    • Alcoa has always been known for its aggressive investigation and then pushing of new technologies.
  • by idontgno (624372) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:50PM (#31488398) Journal

    "DNS" was a "HOSTS.TXT" file FTP'd down from ISI [isi.edu].

    Now stop doing zone transfers across my lawn, you punks!

  • I was watching Sky News today and the tech correspondent reported it was 25 years ago since Tim Burners-Lee invented the Internet. Ugh.

    https://twitter.com/simonhowes/status/10514026928 [twitter.com]

  • Stock performance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bobdotorg (598873) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:16PM (#31488714)

    I'm curious how the publicly traded stocks of the early adopters fared from time of registration until the peak of the dotcom bubble in March 2000. I suspect abnormally high returns relative to Nasdaq or the S&P500.

  • by mister_playboy (1474163) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:18PM (#31488758)

    This story makes me wonder... does anyone know why /. is a .org and not a .com?

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      This story makes me wonder... does anyone know why /. is a .org and not a .com?

      Well, generally speaking, you would reserve a .org for non-profit organizations. Not quite sure if /. is 100% non-profit, but they provide free access to information, accounts are free, and we have the added bonus of disabling ads, so I'd definitely say they're closer to a .org...

      • by cenc (1310167)

        Public traded company. under ticker symbol LNUX, and you do not need to be a non-profit anything to have a .org .

    • by icebraining (1313345) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:40PM (#31488974) Homepage

      I registered the domain name Slashdot.org as a joke. It was 'org' because I didn't want a .com -- those were so common. I always thought org would be cooler, and besides, I had no commercial plans in mind. (Years later this bit me on the ass since someone else registered the .com. Doh!) The URL was meant to be unpronounceable by anyone -- a joke ultimately that has backfired on me countless times when I'm called and asked what the URL is to the damn thing. Jeff 'Hemos' Bates (now a VP of something or other with SourceForge, Inc.) was in the living room when I was registering the domain name. We all wanted email addresses with a unique domain name that wasn't attached to our school, so he chipped in on the registration fee.

      A Brief History of Slashdot Part 1, Chips & Dips [slashdot.org]

  • 88. 03-Sep-1987 SCO.COM

    SCO could probably make far more by selling their "top 100" domain name -- to then be used for a website ridiculing/lambasting Darl McBride et al -- then they could ever hope to make litigating over their dubious-at-best intellectual property claims...

    • by Fred_A (10934)

      SCO could probably make far more by selling their "top 100" domain name -- to then be used for a website ridiculing/lambasting Darl McBride et al -- then they could ever hope to make litigating over their dubious-at-best intellectual property claims...

      Where would we have gotten (I assume that whole mess if over, but you never know) our dose of weekly Internet comedy had they done that ?

  • stats are wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by darthcamaro (735685) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:26PM (#31488840)
    the people that put on this study have some wrong stats. According to VeriSign's own data there are just over 192 million domain names registered now [internetnews.com]. No idea where that figure of 250 million came from but it's not correct.
  • by kclittle (625128) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:38PM (#31488954)
    Looking at that oldest-100 list, it would appear that Northrup is the oldest surviving ".COM" TLD (they were the acquirer in the Grumman deal).
    Ah, DEC, we knew ye well...
    • Pretty bizarre that whoever bought BBN let "bbn.com" lapse...

      • by Fred_A (10934)

        Pretty bizarre that whoever bought BBN let "bbn.com" lapse...

        Microsoft.com did lapse once. Apparently the Internic gave it back to the software company instead of the upcoming silky condom manufacturer specializing in small sizes.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)
      Hmm, BBN.COM is owned by Raytheon, who acquired BBN. Not sure if it counts as "surviving". At least when you go there it says BBN, whereas DEC.COM takes you to HP with no mention of DEC.
  • At the moment Verisign logs 53 billion requests for websites - not just dotcoms - every day, about the same number handled for all of 1995.
    "We expect that to grow in 2020 to somewhere between three and four quadrillion," Mr McLaughlin told BBC News.

    How do we interpret this? I sure hope this is DNS lookups. But if so, doesn't it bother anyone else that the Verisign CEO said "53 billion requests for websites" as opposed to "53 billion requests for domain name resolution." God help us if this means 53 billi

    • by soliptic (665417)

      What are you quibbling about? Did you miss the memo where it was declared that everything you can view, read, listen or interface with on the internet will henceforth be known as a website?

      It was in that same memo where we decided to standardise on "download" for all verbs referring to interactions with computers.

      Hold on, I'll see if I can find the document on my CPU and then I'll download it to a website for you to check it out yourself.

  • Just an observation...

    A significant proportion of those first 100 are defense contractors or otherwise related to the DOD. That's not a shock; indeed it makes sense. But it jumped out at me.

  • Damn, those first Internet geeks are not like today's geeks!
  • Not sure how true it is, but my Computer Science/Calculus BC teacher claims to have one of the first webpages put up on the internet. I would tend to believe him, as he is quite the CS wiz and he tends to be really current. Although looking at his webpage now I think he just got lazy and didn't feel like updating the layout. In any case it currently resides over at http://calcpage.tripod.com/ [tripod.com]. As the story goes it started out on a researchers network after a friend at some institute that I forget the name o
  • My first ISP was CTS.COM, had an account from 1995-2003. Would still be with them, but they dropped their DSL biz in 2003. What's funny is that the DNS entry for my host still resolves...
  • Yeah!

    Those were the good old days...before firewalls...when your desktop workstation has an external IP address.

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