Where Are They Now? The 25 Oldest Dot Coms

As part of this week’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of .Com, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation has published The Internet Economy  25 Years After .Com, which includes a list of the 100 oldest (by date of registration) .Com domains. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at what has happened to them and how many are still around under their original names and serving the original purpose (table after the break). The answer: Not too many, and companies we might tend to think of as industrial dinosaurs showed a lot more staying power than tech hotshots.

Of course, there was no World wide Web when these domains were first registered in the mid-1980s. Back then, the Internet consisted of email, ftp for file transfer, telnet for remote login, and mostly forgotten services such as Gopher, WAIS, and Usenet.

Some tech giants  such as IBM, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, and Texas Instruments have been using the same domains continuously for a quarter of a century.  So have some giants outside the info tech industry such as General Electric, Siemens, and FMC.

Some of the earliest companies on the net have disappeared in acquisitions. Digital Equipment Corp. was acquired by Compaq and in turn by HP. BBN, the engineering firm that built the original Internet Message processors, was acquired by Verizon Communications, spun out, and acquired by Raytheon. Bell Atlantic became Verizon, while AT&T was acquired by its former subsidiary SBC and became AT&T again. Sun was recently swallowed by Oracle.

Some Internet pioneers have disappeared. leaving little or no trace of their former existence. Think.com, the domain name of parallel computing trailblazer Thinking Machines, now belongs to the Oracle Education Foundation. Symbolics.com, the very first domain registered, was originally owned by a company that developed workstations for object oriented programing but now belongs to a “domain investor.” MCC.com, once the Austin-based Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corp., is now a landing page for a bunch of community college Web sites. GMR.com is still registered to General Motors Research, but appears to be dead, while Northrop Grumman Corp. appears to have let Northrop.com lapse; it now belongs to white label email provider Hover.com. UB.com, the domain of network hardware maker Ungerman-Bass (which was swallowed in turn by Tandem Computers, Compaq, and HP), now belongs to Ultimate Bet, an online poker site.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

The 25 Oldest .Com Domains

Rank
Domain Resolves to Use
1
Symbolics.com Symbolics.com XF.com, a “domain investor”
2
BBN.com Raytheon.com Raytheon BBN
3
Think.com Thinkquest.com Oracle Education Foundation
4
MCC.com MCC.com Landing page for community college links
5
DEC.com HP.com Hewlett-Packard home page
6
Northrop.com Northrop.com Landing page for Hover.com white label email
7
Xerox.com Xerox.com Xerox home page
8
SRI.com SRI.com SRI International
9
HP.com HP.com HP home page
10
Bellcore.com Telcordia.com Telcordia home page
11
IBM.com IBM.com IBM home page
11
Sun.com Oracle.com Oracle home page
13
Intel.com Intel.com Intel home page
13
TI.com TI.com Texas Instruments home page
15
ATT.com ATT.com AT&T home page
16
GMR.com GMR.com Registered to General Motors, but site is dead
16
Tek.com Tek.com Tektronix
18
FMC.com FMC.com FMC Corp. home page
18
UB.com Ultimatebet.com Ultimate Bet online poker site
20
Bell-ATL.com Verizon.com Verizon Communications home page
20
GE.com GE.com General Electric home page
20
Grebyn.com Grebyn.com Karl Nyberg’s home page
20
ISC.com ISC.com ISC Consultants home page
20
Siemens.com Siemens.com Siemens home page
20
Stargate.com Latisys.com Latisys data centers
Advertisements

3 Responses to “Where Are They Now? The 25 Oldest Dot Coms”

  1. Debbie Lewis Says:

    Steve,

    I am wondering why MCI and UUNET are not among the first dot.coms, given that both played a major role early on. As the first commercial Internet service provider, I would think UUNET.com would be among the oldest of the bunch, and I would also think PSINet would be there.

    http://www.verizonbusiness.com/about/ipinnovation

    Debbie

  2. swildstrom Says:

    None of those turns out to be as old as you would think. UUnet.com was registered Dec. 13, 1993 and MCI.com Dec. 10, 1991, well out of the running for the top 25. Both domains are now owned by Verizon. PSInet.com wasn’t registered until Dec. 13, 1995. It now belongs to Cogent Communications.

  3. Jimmy Says:

    Hi Steve
    Would you be so nice to make the links available direktly, so we can see them instead of needing to type it ourselves?
    Best regards
    Jimmy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: