Domain names are an integral part of the Internet and help us in identifying web web sites. If they didn’t exist, we would be referring to sites by their I.P. (Internet Protocol) addresses. And that would really complicate things.
You see, domain names are simply a human readable form of an I.P. (Internet Protocol) address. Because of them, we can remember and recall google.com instead of 18.104.22.168 (one of the I.P. address used by the search engine giant).
Here are top 10 facts about domain names you probably didn’t know. If you like this list, please do send in your comments.
Domain names are older than the World Wide Web. Domain names have been available since 1985, while the web was invented in late 1990.
The first dot-com domain name to be registered was symbolics.com on the 15th of March 1985. The domain name was later bought by XF Investments in 2009.
The first dot-org domain name was mitre.org.
The first 10 dot-coms were registered over a period of more than one year. Nowadays, hundreds are booked each day.
Domain names are controlled by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The organisation dictates all the aspects of domain names including country code third-level domains (ccTLD).
NetworkSolutions was the first private domain registrar. They were granted the exclusive contract by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the dot-com TLD in 1993.
As of now, www.GoDaddy.com is the world’s largest domain name registrar.
In 1991, NetworkSolutions used to give out domain names for free along with an IP address. Domain names belonging to all the available TLDs at that time – .com, .net, .org, .edu, .mil and .gov – were up for grabs. However, I suppose, one would have to establish the intent of usage.
Later, many companies tried to lure in customers by offering free domain names. The names were free, no doubts, but came with several “catches”, typically, the requirement to host the domain name on the said company’s server.
“Domain Names are Internet Real Estate” is a famous quote by Marc Ostrofsky. However, unlike real estate, domain names cannot be owned!
The company through which you register a domain name gives you exclusive right of use of the domain name for a specified period of time.
There may be many special and expensive domain names but they aren’t like example.com, example.net and example.org. These have been reserved by the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) to be used as illustrative examples.
The southernmost continent of Antarctica has been assigned the “aq” country code third-level domain (ccTLD). To register a domain name under it, one either needs to be physically present there or be an organisation that has signed the Antarctica Treaty.
Similarly, dot-gov and dot-mil can only be used by US government agencies and the US military, respectively.
Domainers or Domain Investors are people who’ve made millions of from the domain name business. Two famous domainers are Rick Schwartz (candy.com, men.com, iReport.com, porno.com) and Marc Ostrofsky (business.com). Read my article on tips and advice if you too want to earn through domain names.
Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) created the once popular Altavista Internet search engine. They were also the first computer vendor to launch a public web site at dec.com. Their domain name is the fifth oldest in the world and, at one time, hosted a popular software repository. [more...]