Although it’s tempting to think that the first domain name registered belonged to some big corporation or iconic computer company, the reality is that the first domain name belonged to an early adopter. In 1985, shortly after domains were available for purchase by the public, a small computer firm from Cambridge, Massachusetts purchased the very first one. Symbolics, Inc. placed their stake in the virtual soil of the budding internet and into internet history with the purchase of symbolics.com—the first domain name registration and first commercial domain name all in one swoop.
As the internet had yet to gain any real traction among the general population, Symbolics was a lonely domain for quite some time. By 1992, fewer than 15,000 commercial domains had been registered, but by 2018, over 30 odd years past the first domain name registration, a whopping 333.8 million domain names across all top-level domains (TLDs) had been registered. 148.3 million of those registrations are for .com and .net domains.
So how is old symbolics.com today? The parent company was bought up years ago and still exists, albeit with an alternative domain. The website itself is a shrine to, well, itself and the internet as a whole. It exists as a placeholder noting its historical role in the history of the internet and serving up bits of internet history in a virtual museum.
Image courtesy of Symbolics.