Thirty years ago yesterday the Internet was truly born. Whilst the origins of the mesh of Inter-Networks could trace their roots back to the US Department of Defense and the West Coast, it wasn't until 15th March 1985 that the first domain name was registered by US computer manufacturer Symbolics. Since then over 115 million dotCom domain names have been registered by global businesses, Internet entrepreneurs and individuals alike, hoping to become the latest dotCom success story.
Back then, Dead or Alive were number one in the pop charts, The Breakfast Club was the top grossing film and Mikhail Gorbachev became General Secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union and less than 0.5% of the world's population had access to the Internet, compared to nearly 40% today. Domain names in those first few years were simply awarded free of charge. The second dotCom was registered in April 1985, BBN.com and within three years the first 100 domain names had gone live, being awarded to companies such as Apple.com and Philips.com. Today, 50 dotCom names are registered per minute. It would be a further ten years before domain names would be sold by Network Solutions, who charged $100 for a two year registration.
Over the course of the last thirty years domain names have become valuable digital assets, changing hands for multiple times their actual value. Insure.com was sold back in 2009 for $16 million, whilst the ongoing legal wrangling of the ownership of the domain name sex.com has spawned a number of books and will undoubtedly one day be made into a film.
Being the most popular Top Level Domain means that few short digit names are still available. Virtually every three digital dotCom has been registered whilst over 95% of four digit ones are taken. The longest domain name registered is www.llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch.com, registered to the Welsh village of the same name.
So let's all raise a glass to celebrate this important milestone in the life of the Internet. There are over 115 million reasons to be cheerful.