Happy Birthday to the First Dot-Com

Image: University of Technology, Sydney
Today, the domain name symbolics.com is the property of XF.com Investments, a Dallas-based “virtual real estate investment firm.” From its meager website, it seems reasonable to conclude that the crux of XF’s real estate is that single domain name. As the first ever .com website, symbolics.com is something of an internet historic site. Currently, it’s mostly inhabited by advertisements for advertising.

By Michael Byrne|MOTHERBOARD

2015 visitors to said domain are greeted with a weird illustration that appears to be hyperlinked in random places to modal windows supplying random facts about domain names and internet history. It takes a bit of hunting to discover this functionality, and I kind of suspect you’d find something very similar in searching for jQuery example projects.

It’s pretty clear that symbolics.com in 2015 exists as a click sink. And, indeed, every year around this time, the March 15 anniversary of the registration of symbolics.com, there will be a new wave of clicks accompanying a new wave of blog posts about symbolics.com. There’s something kind of perfect or curiously meta about the first ever .com—the top-level domain originally intended to signify a commercial enterprise—now existing as an attempt to cash in on the clicks of curious online sightseers.

The first round of six top-level domains (also: .org, .mil,.gov,.edu, and a bit later, .net) was defined in October of 1984 via a document known as RFC 920 (RFC: “request for comment”). The domains were to be administered by the Defense Data Network Network Information Center, via SRI International, née the Stanford Research Institute.

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