Today in 1985: The dawn of the dot-com era

March 15, 2010

Do you remember the early days of the dial-up Internet, when people would joke that www stood for “world wide wait”? If so, it may come as a surprise that the dot-com era celebrates its 25th birthday today.

The very first domain name – symbolics.com – was registered on March 15, 1985, to Symbolics, a computer maker that offered one of the first commercially available “workstation” computers. As might be expected, most of the early domain-name adopters were high-tech companies (including a smattering of defense contractors), and it took a full year for the first 10 domain names to be claimed. Here they are:

  1. symbolics.com
  2. bbn.com
  3. think.com
  4. mcc.com
  5. dec.com
  6. northrup.com
  7. xerox.com
  8. sri.com
  9. hp.com
  10. bellcore.com

The westlaw.com domain name was registered in 1991, a few years before “Internet” became a household word. Thomson Reuters now owns than 100 domain names that contain the word “Westlaw” (including the most recent domain-name debut, staging.blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com).

Just for fun, here’s how the original westlaw.com appeared after its launch in 1998.

Westlaw.com as it appeared in 1998

Remember the Starr Report? Ah, those wacky Clinton years.

For more on the first dot-com domain names, see this article on the HotHardware website.