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After 33 Years, the First Ever Registered Domain Name is Still Alive and Kicking


By Goran Bogunovic, June 29, 2018

  • Did you know that emoticons were created by Scott Fahlman, a computer scientist, who found it difficult to tell serious messages from jokes?
  • The first spam ever sent was created by Gary Thuerk and was sent to 393 people on ARPAnet, the military computer network, in 1978.
  • Hacking doesn’t necessarily stand for cybercrimes. It can also mean “finding applications not envisaged by the maker.”

You’re probably wondering what the source of all these facts is. Wikipedia? Nope. We actually found them on Symbolics.com – a website that is a curiosity of its own – it sits on the very first domain ever registered! Today, this domain is 33 years old. Over time, it has changed both its owner and its purpose, but it still attracts thousands of curious visitors every day.

The Story of the Very First Domain

Symbolics.com was bought 4 years before the World Wide Web even existed.
Symbolics.com was the first domain name ever registered online. The name was bought on March 15, 1985, by a Massachusetts-based company with the same name, Symbolics Computer Corporation, best known for developing a computer language called Lisp – the second oldest high-level programming language still in use.

Here’s a fun fact: They bought the domain name 4 years before the World Wide Web even existed.

Back then, Symbolics was pretty popular, and the parentheses-heavy homoiconic syntax of Lisp was praised by the legends such as Edsger W. Dijkstra. Still, at one point, its relevance started diminishing and the company had to file for bankruptcy in 1993. Facing terrible financial problems, they continued to exist, but their operations were very limited.

Sixteen years later, Aron Meystedt, the CEO of XF.com Investments reached out to them, asking if Symbolics.com may be up for sale. The timing was perfect- Symbolics was going through yet another financial crisis. They decided to sell the domain for an undisclosed amount and to move their company’s site to symbolics-dks.com.

Symbolics.com Contributes to the Betterment of Humanity

Now, you’re probably wondering why the guys behind XF.com Investments were so interested in buying symbolics.com.

Even when Symbolics started losing its popularity, its domain name remained extremely popular. The mere fact that it was the first domain name ever registered attracted hundreds or even thousands of visitors every day, who just wanted to check what the site looks like. Aron Meystedt was well-aware of that, seeing the site as an incredible opportunity to increase his company’s revenue.

When he bought the domain, he explicitly claimed that he had no intentions of selling it.

“We are extremely excited to own the Symbolics.com domain name. For us to own the first domain is very special to our company, and we feel blessed for having the ability to obtain this unique property.”

He decided to use it as a contribution to “the betterment of humanity” and that’s exactly what he did.

Symbolics.com is turned into a comprehensive Internet history archive, The Big Internet Museum.

Even when Symbolics started losing its popularity, its domain name remained extremely popular. The mere fact that it was the first domain name ever registered attracted hundreds or even thousands of visitors every day, who just wanted to check what the site looks like.

On its “About” page, it’s emphasized that this extensive collection is not only for today’s generations but also for the generations to come:

Remember the sound of a 56K dial-up modem? Your children probably don’t. In fact, chances are they don’t have a clue what a loading bar is. We’re not in it for the money. The museum is a tribute to all the pioneers who made the Internet and the World Wide Web what it is today. Undoubtedly, the best is yet to come.”

The Big Internet Museum

The idea behind this project is clear- it is supposed to educate the visitors from all across the globe about the World Wide Web.

When you land on Symbolics.com, you’ll see that it’s interface is kept to the bare minimum. Dark background, simple navigation bar, a few social media buttons, and a huge headline telling us that we entered “World’s first and oldest registered .com domain name on the Internet.”

Of course, there is also a huge CTA, leading us to The Big Internet Museum. And this is where the magic happens.

When you take a closer look at it, you will see that The Big Internet Museum is a museum like any other- with curators, a rich permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, numerous wings, donations, and so on. Except it’s online, free, and open 24/7.

Once you click the “Navigate” section on the site, you will see that it is divided into various “wings,” like:

  • Audio-visual wing
  • Social media wing
  • Technology wing
  • Peripherals wing
  • Gaming wing
  • Meme wing
  • History wing
  • Temporary exhibition

Every wing comprises numerous exhibits and each exhibit consists of an image and a short piece of text. This is a nice introduction to the major moments in the history of the Internet everyone should be familiar with. To hook their visitors’ attention, these facts are brief, to-the-point, and easy-to-follow. Some of them even contain a link to a relevant, external source one can click on if they want to learn more about a particular topic.

What makes it an awesome resource is the fact that the site is highly engaging and interactive. It’s their visitors, people like you and me, that make this site an amazing place.

When you take a closer look at it, you will see that The Big Internet Museum is a museum like any other- with curators, a rich permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, numerous wings, donations, and so on. Except it’s online, free, and open 24/7.

Namely, if you notice that something relevant is missing, you can always fill out a contact form and submit your ideas for some future exhibits. This way, you will not only contribute to the enrichment of this comprehensive collection but also have your name written on a museum’s wall.  Sweet.

If you, on the other hand, cannot think of anything you might add to the site, you can become a curator. All you have to do is click on the “Vote” section, check out all the pieces submitted, and vote for the one you like the most.

Symbolics.com Shows Us How the Idea of the Internet has Changed

Symbolics.com was there where the internet was created. It has witnessed all the major events, achievements, and changes that happened in this turbulent digital landscape over time. This is why we can perceive it as an interactive chronicle of the World Wide Web, reminding us how gorgeous, diverse, and gigantic it has become.

Most importantly, it shows us that sometimes, choosing a domain name is even more important than the choice of a brand name. As the first domain ever registered, it somehow became a brand on its own. Short, simple, and memorable, it has managed to stay relevant even in times when its owners started losing relevance.

And, now that it is turned into an online museum, it perfectly stands for what it represents- a symbol of the changes the internet has gone through. This is what you need to keep in mind when choosing your domain name.

Choose a name that is brandable, identifiable, and authentic. A name that can put down its roots, stay recognizable in the sea of domain names will help you build a unique brand that stands out. Observe it as your online ID, as this is exactly what it is.

Whether you want to create a personal brand or give your company’s site a boost, we at Domain.me are here to support you. Our .ME is all about you. It lets you get your creative juices flowing. With it, you can create a powerful call to action and use different naming techniques to creatively present everything your brand stands for.

Check whether your desired .ME name is available and register today!


Author:

Goran Bogunovic

Now, you're probably wondering how I got here! Running a marketing agency, educating people about branding, and helping you to develop your own presence online. To understand, you’ll need to follow me @Domain.Me

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