March 15, 1985 was the date when the first dot-com domain was registered to the computer manufacturer Symbolics Inc. Companies that deal with internet addresses hand out different domains such as .com (commercial), .org (organizations), .edu (education), .gov (government), .mil (military). Although .com stands for commercial, it can nowadays be used by everyone who wants to create their own address.
Symbolics dealt with computer workstations. They developed the “Lisp” computer language, but it did not last much and by 1993 the company was bankrupt. The symbolics.com website, as well as the company, exists even today. Some government agencies and other companies still use the Lisp operating system, although the cases are quite remote. In 2009 Aron Meystedt bought Symbolic, so the company transferred the domain name to Meystedt and moved to symbolics-dks.com.
Symbolics.com Then and Now
What has become of Symbolics.com? Meystedt noticed that the site gathered a lot of traffic without any advertising. People access it only out of curiosity: thousands of people every day. Meystedt imagined he could gather quite a lot of money from hundreds of thousands of clicks a year coming from people who enter the site because they happened to find out that Symbolics was the first dot-com domain ever.
What Meystedt did was to turn the site into an Internet history archive. If you enter the site the image of a cartoonish city will appear in front of your eyes. If you click anywhere on the city, especially on the windows of the buildings, a window will pop up and will offer you Internet and Worldwide Web facts. In order to make money, the owner of the website has allowed companies to sell ads. Yet, for the time beings, the future plans for the Symbolics are put aside because of Meystedt‘s job. He is a director at Heritage Auctions. Although he is not working at the Symbolic project, Meystedt declared he is humbled to own such a piece of internet history.
Things didn’t exactly take off when the domain was created. In the same year when Symblics.com was registered, only other five followed. According to Verisign, the company that manages the extension in the present, in the second year of its existence, the domain gathered only 100 names. It was between 1995 and 2000 when the dot-com boom happened. During this time the number of registrations raised from 9,005 to more than 20 million.
It might not have been an explosion at first, but what happened afterwards completely changed the economy. According To PDF (Boston Consulting Group) in 2010 the internet had an impact worth $2.3 trillion in the world’s top 20 greatest economies. By 2016 the value will double to $4.2 million. Websites using .com contribute the most to the growth. Verisign states that all of the Fortune 500 companies and all of the fastest-growing companies of the world use the .com extension.
Communications professor Stephanie Ricker Schulte of the University of Arkansas and writer of the book “Cached: Decoding the Internet in Global Popular Culture”(2013) said that before 2000 the word dot-com inspired American innovation and entrepreneurialism, not only inside the US, but also across borders.
The emergence of dot-com suggested growth and new economy. It was a yardstick. Kim Schmitz, Web entrepreneur and hacker, changed his last name to Dotcom as a sign of allegiance to what turned him into the owner of a fortune.
Possible Investment Avenue at the Time
But in the beginning the situation was not at all promising. Investors spent money on tech firms and gained no profit. Professor Schulte said that in 2000, after the dot-com boom, the domain was not very well looked upon, especially abroad. The foreign press considered it a sign of the American avidity and hubris. Schulte said that a newspaper in Germany wrote that Internet executives use champagne to wash their cars. At present not too many Internet workers use the dot-com label. They prefer to define themselves simply using the term “startup”. Professor Andrew Russell of the Stevens Institute of Technology (New Jersey) said it is not regarded as a good thing generally speaking. The term “dot-com” creates ambiguities.
Regardless of all these, the dominance of the extension cannot be denied. A .com domain is registered every single second, Verisign says. Today the challenge is represented by the multiplying newcomers. New domains – such as .money, .coach, .green – appear all the time. In addition, with e-commerce starting to extend on smartphone applications, some may wonder how many years from now on will .com continue to mean that much. Schulte believes that .com websites will not be regarded as souvenirs of the 20th century technology because history is important even in domains such as the Internet, no matter how ephemeral it may be. In her opinion dot-com will prevail at least as a remainder.
Image Source: Symbolics
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