30 Years Since The First Dot Com Domain, Symbolics.com Was Registered
Symbolics.com was the first ever domain name to be bought and registered by a commercial entity in March 1985, and although it has changed hands since, it remains the oldest registered dot com domain.
The first dot com domain was purchased by a tech company, and the top level domain was initially meant only to serve commercial businesses. However, its popularity stems from the fact that any company, any individual, or any investor can snap up their choice of domain name. Dot com retains more than 40% of market share in TLDs, although some predict that this will change by the year 2020.
The Early Years
While the dot com domain has become synonymous with the Internet, and crucial to the modern business looking to take their venture online, it took a number of years to really gain traction and take off. Only a handful of domains were registered in 1985, and the TLD was reserved primarily for registration by commercial entities until the 1990s, when it was opened up for general reservations. By 1997, a million dot com domains had been registered and the dot com bubble of 2000 saw the number increase considerably.
Dot Com Growth
115 million dot com domains are currently registered, and this has made it a challenge for many new website owners to acquire the domains that they want, without paying inflated prices to wrench them away from their current owners. Dot com domains are not only purchased by brands and website owners, but by investors that look to flip domains for a potentially sizeable profit. While 115 million domains might be registered, it is likely that a decent portion of these are simply parked or left idle, making it even more difficult for businesses looking to choose a domain name that is relevant to their organisation.
In fact, according to VeriSign and via the Symbolics.com website itself, 13% of the domain names are inactive.
New Top Level Domains
Now more than 500 new domains, and while some analysts and industry insiders are excited by the prospects of TLDs like .tech, which was bought for $6.8m, and .tickets which will guarantee consumers are buying tickets from genuine sellers and resellers, the greatest publicity so far has fallen on the more undesirable aspects of TLDs like .sucks, .porn, and .adult. Celebrities and brands alike are buying up branded domains within these questionable TLDs to ensure brand protection.
Some experts and lobbyists have said that the domain registrars responsible for them are essentially holding businesses to ransom, in order to collect the inflated prices that are being charged.
ICANN also made dot brand domain names available, with the likes of .axa and .nike already being sold. While these brands have previously only been available to verified brand owners, they will eventually go on general sale – potentially another expensive way in which brands will need to invest heavily in alternative domains; it costs around £100,000 to register a dot brand domain name.