Have you ever wondered who pioneered the Internet land grab? In the mid-1980s, these leading-edge companies were the first to register .com addresses. But where are they now? Some are stronger than ever; some have been bought and sold; and others just host ads.
It was in March 1985 that the oldest domain was registered. The domain, www.symbolics.com, was owned by Symbolics, a now-defunct company that at the time was a leading software-development firm. Its domain was registered on March 15, 1985.
Back then, there were only five commercial domains, period: BNN.com, Think.com, MCC.com, DEC.com, and Symbolics.com. Now, almost 30 years later, there are more than 250 million domain names in existence.
Where are those first domains now? Let's take a look.
BBN.com was purchased by BBN Technologies on April 24, 1985. BBN was a military contractor -- primarily for DARPA -- and was known for development of packet-switching technologies, including the ARPANET and the Internet. BBN became a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytheon in September 2009. BBN.com now lands on a Raytheon page about BBN.
When it registered www.think.com on May 24, 1985, supercomputer manufacturer Thinking Machines became the third company ever to register a .com domain name. The URL now redirects to an Oracle Education Foundation project called ThinkQuest, which was designed to help schools tap the power of the Net for learning purposes but was discontinued last July.
MCC, the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corp., was a US for-profit industrial research and development consortium. Formed in 1982, it focused on technology development, technology sourcing, and technology integration. Though one of the first domains, today MCC.com hosts ads.
DEC.com was home to Digital Equipment Corp., a producer of workstations, servers, and high-end PCs. DEC also developed one of the early leaders in the Internet search engine space, Alta Vista. In January, 1998, DEC was acquired by Compaq, which was then acquired by Hewlett-Packard. DEC.com now redirects to an HP-owned address.
Telecommunications R&D company Bellcore became Bell Communications Research before becoming Telcordia Technologies and then being acquired by Ericsson in 2011. Bellcore.com now redirects to an Ericsson page about Telcordia.
Sun Microsystems parked its online home at the Sun.com domain on March 19, 1986. On January 27, 2010, Sun was acquired by Oracle for $7.4 billion. Sun.com now takes you to an Oracle page about the Sun acquisition and integration.