First to the domain-name game

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,, 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:,,,, and 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.
Photo by: Screenshot by CNET 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. now lands on a Raytheon page about BBN.
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When it registered 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.
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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 hosts ads.
Photo by: Screenshot by CNET 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. now redirects to an HP-owned address.
Photo by: Screenshot by CNET was registered on January 9, 1986, and is still active.
Photo by: Screenshot by CNET, registered on January 17, 1985, is still active. A nonprofit independent research center, SRI International provides advisory services related to lab research and technology development.
Photo by: Screenshot by CNET, still the home of Hewlett-Packard, was registered on March 3, 1986.
Photo by: Screenshot by CNET was registered on March 5, 1986.

Telecommunications R&D company Bellcore became Bell Communications Research before becoming Telcordia Technologies and then being acquired by Ericsson in 2011. now redirects to an Ericsson page about Telcordia.
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Sun Microsystems parked its online home at the domain on March 19, 1986. On January 27, 2010, Sun was acquired by Oracle for $7.4 billion. now takes you to an Oracle page about the Sun acquisition and integration.
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Still going strong, was registered by IBM on March 19, 1986.
Photo by: Screenshot by CNET, the online home of Texas Instruments, was registered March 25, 1986. It's still alive and kicking.
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Intel is still the master of its domain at, registered on March 25, 1986.
Photo by: Screenshot/CNET

The Web site for telecommunications giant AT&T, registered on April 25, 1986, is another one that's still valid.
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