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Happy 25th Birthday .com!
March 15, 2010 7:49 AM   Subscribe

A quarter of a century ago, today, symbolics.com was registered.

This was the first .com domain registered (a .net domain was created earlier you may be surprised to discover) and is the oldest .com name still registered, having been continually registered since 1985.
The domain has had one change of owner when Symbolics, Inc sold the domain to domain investment company XF.com last August.

The company in charge of the .com namespace, Verisign, are celebrating with a mini-site at 25yearsof.com.

As part of the 25 Years of .com anniversary, a panel of 'Silicon Valley influencers' (including David Kirkpatrick, Kevin Maney, and Cisco's Daniel Scheinman) will select the ".com 25"- 25 people and/or companies whose inspiring contributions were fundamental in shaping the Internet.
While the judges will select the final ".com 25", us ordinary Internet users can show our support for our favourite nominee(s) by voting for them.

Monster.com is currently leading the public nominations (at the time of writing), with Facebook, Google, YouTube and Amazon leading the rest of the pack.
posted by sid.tv (38 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Amazon: Influential in that it showed people you could buy stuff on that thar intarwebs. (Transformed Xmas shopping for me.)

Google: Influential in that you could finally find stuff.

YouTube: Influential in that video finally arrived.

Facebook: Recreates AOL.
posted by DU at 7:53 AM on March 15, 2010


It was more than a month until someone else signed up for a domain name that they'd keep: The 100 oldest (continually registered) .com domain names. Lots of old names on that list. This list also has website rankings listed. The only ones on the first-100 list that still get a large amount of traffic are HP.com, Sun.com, ATT.com, IBM.com and Apple.com.
posted by Plutor at 7:54 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


And today it's owned by a glorified domain squatter -- I'm sorry, an "operator" of "premium domain properties". Ouch.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:55 AM on March 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


This list is an outrage. They're not giving any credit to the internet pioneer that taught generations of programmers and systems administrators about networking - example.com. They'd better fix that ASAP or I'm going to start a very angry web petition.
posted by cmonkey at 8:04 AM on March 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Great post! I love little internet history lessons like this.
posted by sciurus at 8:06 AM on March 15, 2010


Facebook: recreates parts of AOL, which made things like Usenet more user-friendly. See also: Friendster, The WELL, Classmates.com, etc. In other words, our memory sucks if we think Facebook is a novel fundamental site. But the same can be said about Google if we're focusing on only the search element. They improved beyond what was already around.

In the end, all this bean-plating is silly. Popularity contests aren't about the best, but whatever the most people are thinking about right now.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:11 AM on March 15, 2010


Facebook: recreates parts of AOL, which made things like Usenet more user-friendly.

Ah, but AOL successfully destroyed USENET. What has Facebook destroyed? Nothing.

Steve Case: 1
Mark Zuckerberg: 0

Your move, Zuckerberg.
posted by cmonkey at 8:15 AM on March 15, 2010




Facebook: recreates parts of AOL, which made things like Usenet more user-friendly.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that was a Bad Thing.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:17 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now my 9 year old domain doesn't seem so new. I had older ones I let go and operate newer ones, but still, it's not like 9 years is a puppy in internet years. Does make the meta 10 seem even cooler.

I wonder what percentage of domains last 10 years.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:22 AM on March 15, 2010


A quarter of a century ago, today....

What does it say about me that the year 1975 immediately came to mind? Am I forever stuck in 2000?
posted by Corduroy at 8:22 AM on March 15, 2010


A colleague of mine used to reminisce about the glorious Symbolics machines, which were optimized to run LISP.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:25 AM on March 15, 2010


2010: Blog post regarding Facebook's authentication API achieves a sufficient google ranking to necessitate appended instructions for the the overwhelming number of visitors searching for the social networking service, who dominate the comments with statements of anger, confusion, and disapproval of the "changes" Facebook has apparently made to their rote-learned login process.

We've come a long way, baby!
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 8:41 AM on March 15, 2010


(respect (pour-out 'beer 'ground) 'symbolics)
posted by Nelson at 8:42 AM on March 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


Facebook: recreates parts of AOL, which made things like Usenet more user-friendly.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that was a Bad Thing.


Remember that the problem back then was that it let "just anyone" post to usenet. Seems pretty snobby looking back.

And in the end, it wasn't AOL that killed usenet, it was spam.
posted by smackfu at 8:48 AM on March 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


i'm pretty sure monster.com would never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever win a poll of this type that wasn't somehow being gamed.
posted by sexyrobot at 8:57 AM on March 15, 2010


What has Facebook destroyed? Nothing.

Friendster? Or MySpace? Here's a quick (outdated) chronology of social networks, though the summary lacks any notion of rise and fall in popularity.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:02 AM on March 15, 2010


2010: Blog post regarding Facebook's authentication API achieves a sufficient google ranking...

...and becomes self-aware at 2:14am Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.
posted by JaredSeth at 9:10 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find it interesting that .edu .gov and .mil are all US specific, yet .com .net and .org are cosmopolitan.
posted by Sova at 9:21 AM on March 15, 2010


It's interesting to compare this to the assigned /8 subnets (xkcd visual).

I think the entity with the oldest combined domain & subnet is Xerox (xerox.com 1986, 013/8 1991). But xerox.com is hosted by Akamai, which begs the question - who has the oldest combination and self-hosts?
posted by djb at 9:48 AM on March 15, 2010


Man, djb, everytime you post in an old timey Internet thread I have to double check you're not that other djb.
posted by Nelson at 9:50 AM on March 15, 2010


Meta-Super-Hyper-Control-Shift-1
Meta-Super-Hyper-Control-Shift-1
Meta-Super-Hyper-Control-Shift-1
space shift-1

21-keystroke salute
posted by Zed at 10:06 AM on March 15, 2010


"Remember that the problem back then was that it let 'just anyone' post to usenet. Seems pretty snobby looking back."

It wasn't snobby. Just that a culture of a 100 can't sufficiently acclimatize a new user base of a few thousand. Especially when most of those thousands had totally different expectations. The same would happen to, for example, your neighbourhood hooters if it suddenly became the hangout for the local knitting circle with much the same nashing of teeth from the old school. Spam was a problem but the September that never ended was worse.
posted by Mitheral at 10:22 AM on March 15, 2010


smackfu: "Facebook: recreates parts of AOL, which made things like Usenet more user-friendly.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that was a Bad Thing.


Remember that the problem back then was that it let "just anyone" post to usenet. Seems pretty snobby looking back.

And in the end, it wasn't AOL that killed usenet, it was spam.
"

Yeah, but that was the predecessor to youtube comments and shit.

That said, everyone was gonna get on anyways, it's not like it's AOL's fault. I was on Compuserve, though, so I didn't have to look nearly as bad. I missed the heady days when JP Barlow gave us the "Cyberspace Declaration of Independence"
posted by symbioid at 10:36 AM on March 15, 2010


What has Facebook destroyed?

I don't know about destroyed, but reports are that there are millions of man-hours suddenly gone missing.
posted by hippybear at 10:57 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


AltaVista? (The first serious search engine.) Bill Joy? (The sockets interface.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:02 AM on March 15, 2010


My domain's coming up on 13 years old. I feel pretty cool about that, actually.
posted by Michael Roberts at 11:13 AM on March 15, 2010


A colleague of mine used to reminisce about the glorious Symbolics machines, which were optimized to run LISP.

You can still buy them - David K. Schmidt still sells and services Symbolics hardware. I've got the current (as of a couple weeks ago) Symbolics price list online (warning, self-link to relevant site).

The Symbolics OpenGenera "Virtual LISP Machine" dev environment has been ported enough to run on 64-bit Linux and is a great way to see how things were done if you don't have room or money for actual hardware.

The BitSavers project has a great collection of Symbolics literature and documentation.
posted by mrbill at 11:18 AM on March 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


What has Facebook destroyed? Nothing.

Friendster? Or MySpace? Here's a quick (outdated) chronology of social networks, though the summary lacks any notion of rise and fall in popularity.


USENET was approximately 100000000x more awesome than any social network. Facebook cannot compete with the Godzilla-like Internet Destruction Power of mid-90s AOL.
posted by cmonkey at 11:20 AM on March 15, 2010


And... now it's apparently squatted by someone selling something related to domains (I didn't look close enough to find out). Sad. The GNU project was sort of born from Symbolics machines - they were the preferred hacker platform at MIT, and the reason why EMACS has all those horrible Alt-Alt-Ctrl-F1-touch-your-toes commands is due to the influence of the Symbolics keyboard.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:48 AM on March 15, 2010


Neat -- thanks for posting...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 11:49 AM on March 15, 2010




"My domain's coming up on 13 years old. I feel pretty cool about that, actually."

Wow, just realised mine's the same age. I'd waited for nearly a year to see if the person who had it would renew, then pounced when they didn't; you didn't have to contend with countless dropcatchers and domain farms in those days.
posted by malevolent at 12:48 PM on March 15, 2010


The GNU project was sort of born from Symbolics machines only inasmuch as RMS' disgust with Symbolics was his first object lesson in how proprietary extensions to software community-developed software quickly proved poisonous to the community.

So far as I can tell (and I'm shocked I can't find a detailed timeline online), the Knight keyboard preceded and inspired the Symbolics keyboard, and had even more modifier keys.

Really, you'd be hard pressed to find a default Emacs keybinding involving key-chords requiring more than two modifiers (checking my bindings for Fundamental mode, I spot two, and one of those is redundant with an easier keybinding.) I haven't encountered anything in Emacs or a third-party package that required a modifier other than Shift, Ctrl, or Meta (in most contexts, you can pretend the Alt key is a Meta key.) And if you don't want to chord your Meta-commands, you can hit Escape as a prefix instead. You have to go out of your way to have any Hyper or Super chords in your life.

Emacs has some bad defaults, no doubt about it; its worst is bad enough without exaggeration. (But with a keyboard configured with easy-to-use Control, Alt, and Meta keys, Emacs is my favorite app for ergonomics, with little modification to its keybindings.)
posted by Zed at 1:16 PM on March 15, 2010


25 years consistantly registered by Verisign? Let's see, at the standard domain reg rate there, Verisign has made several million dollars off it, right? (Exaggerate? Me?)
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:17 PM on March 15, 2010


25 years consistantly registered by Verisign?

Not quite. For one, Verisign didn't acquire Network Solutions until 2000; for another, NSI only started handling domain registrations in 1991 (as a government subcontractor) and wasn't allowed to charge a fee for registration until 1995.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:10 PM on March 15, 2010


I had email addresses at two of the 15 oldest .com domains.

My lawn, off it!
posted by zippy at 2:29 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find it interesting that .edu .gov and .mil are all US specific

.edu is not US-specific. McGill, Montreal; Polytechnique, France; Oxford.
posted by mendel at 9:34 PM on March 15, 2010


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