Happy Birthday Dot Com

The Internet has now come of age, fewer and fewer of us can remember a world in which it did not exist. The first domain was created 30 years ago; that was Nordu.net, on January 1, 1985, but the first domain was not registered until March 15 the same year. That was not Nordu.net but Symbolics.com. The second domain name was registered only on April 24, 1985; that was Bbn.com. All three domain names are still in use today. 

In 1998, ICANN was set up; this is the body that controls the Internet, as far as any organisation can be said to.  ICANN has a dot org extension; .org stands for organisation, of course while .com means commerce or company, usually but not always a commercial company. Originally, the list of domain name extensions was very limited. 

On June 19, 1997, The Herald News – an Illinois newspaper – reported that in the United States, the four most common domain extensions were .com, .net, .org and .gov. Any  domain ending in .gov was and remains that of an American Government agency. At that time, a list of seven new domain extensions had been agreed, including .art and .store, which are self-explanatory. One firm was charging $100 to register a domain name for two years. Technology is about the only sector of the economy in which prices fall; a major hosting company is currently offering new .com domains for $6.99 the first year followed by $17.99 the second year, an excellent bargain. Of course, some domain names sell for much more. Last year the domain NFTs.com was purchased for a staggering $15 million, but even that wasn’t a record.

In recent years, the list of domain extensions has been expanded exponentially, including names of cities. Here is what is said to be a full list. In spite of this expansion, .com remains the most popular, but just because a website has an easily recognisable name doesn’t guarantee it will be popular. The domain thelatestnews.com was registered on April 22, 1997 and was still being offered for hosting in 2005. Ten years later it was used as a news site by two entrepreneurs from Slovenia, but sadly they were unable to make it pay, and gave up on it the following year. By 2021, it had a female owner or was at least aimed at a female readership with only a slight news angle. The site is still there but has apparently been abandoned or at the least has not been updated for two years. Best not to mention the dot com bubble, especially with yet another one about to burst in the financial sector.

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