Fizzy bubbles at the ready: Dot-com celebrates 30th birthday

Symbolics registered first domain on 15 March, 1985


In 1985 most commercial internet users were US government contractors, but all of that was set to slowly change after Symbolics became the first company to register a dot-com domain name.

Thirty years on, the total number of registered top-level domains (TLDs) surpassed 288 million at the end of 2014, according to the latest figures from VeriSign.

Back in the mid-80s, the globe was still four years away from the birth of the world wide web, when Tim Berners-Lee proposed the concept while working at CERN.

But that didn't stop Symbolics from registering the first dot-com domain name. In fact, just five domain names were registered in 1985.

Apparently, the world's first dot-com registrant failed to spot the significance of its purchase. As Symbolics' founder and president of the now-defunct Lisp computer vendor, Russell Noftsker, told The Register in 2010:

“The driving application the funding agencies were interested in was the connectivity of researchers and contractors.

“We thought there would be some commercial applications, but we did not know how broad that would be.”

Eventually, the Symbolics domain name was sold off for an undisclosed sum to a Dallas, Texas-based investor group in August 2009.

More than 500 new TLDs are being added to the internet today, with another 500 in the pipeline.

However, the dot-com brand remains well ahead of the competition with 115.6 millions registered names at the end of last year, according to Verisign. ®


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