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quixote100104
09-21-2009, 09:25 AM
Greetings :-),

Does anyone out there know when the domain name rush actually broke out? What I'm after here is when a person thinking a little ahead of the curve would have been able to grab a lot of potentially profitable domain names before the notion caught on broadly.

I recall hearing about a lot of issues a while back with celebrities having to pay big money for domains in thier own names because others got there first, but I don't recall the details.

Thanks :-)

Georgina
09-21-2009, 12:23 PM
You'd be looking at around 1995 - 1997 for companies, and probably 1998 - 2000 for celebrity names. Timing will vary based upon how big the company/person was.

Most companies had no real concept of the world wide web in its first few years. The most famous example is probably mcdonalds.com, which was registered by a reporter for Wired in October 1994 after the company seemed disinterested in owning it (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.10/mcdonalds.html). He later agreed to give the domain to McDonald's in return for a donation of computers to a school.

Companies have and still do pay for domain names that are relevant to them -- Yahoo just bought omg.com for $80k for their gossip portal -- but I'm not aware of many celebrities who've done so. A number filed disputes under the UDRP (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/MurUEJL/2003/34.html) and got their names back for free. One exception is Sting, but his case was unusual in that his stage name is a common English word that could be claimed upon by many parties. He was denied in 2000 (http://www.out-law.com/page-877) but owns sting.com now; I believe he bought it though I can't find with a quick google search how much he paid.

The real money in domain names was not with company or celebrity names but with generic terms that could be turned into websites. sex.com (around $12.5 million; reports vary), porn.com ($9 million), business.com ($7.5 million) and diamonds.com ($7.5 million) are the biggest recorded. Here's a list of some others. (http://www.justsearching.co.uk/JustBlog/most-expensive-domain-names-ever.html)

Feel free to PM me if there's anything else I can help you with on this topic.

Cheers.

PeterL
09-21-2009, 05:00 PM
Georgina is correct. In addition, the first domain name was issued in 1985, so there was a long period when someone could have loaded up with names.

Georgina
09-21-2009, 07:40 PM
Although domains have been around since the early 80s, it's unlikely that anybody was speculating on domain names back then.

The first .com domain name was issued in March 1985. There was no web, so there was little reason for a company to have more than one domain name. The internet was used for things like email, telnet, ftp, and usenet.

Here's a list of the 100 oldest domain names. (http://www.iwhois.com/oldest/) You can see that most are tech and communications companies. Early domain registrations were free.

Tim Bernes-Lee proposed the idea of the world wide web in 1989, but it was only really with the release of the Mosiac browser in 1993 that the modern web slowly began. Almost no home user had web access at this time -- they were either on a system like AoL/Compuserve, or had a shell account. It wasn't until 1995 that web usage trickled into the home market in any signifigant way, and even then, it was a very small percentage of the US population.

You can tell when a domain was first registered by looking up their whois information. I checked a few from my last post: sex.com (Oct 1995), porn.com (Aug 1995), business.com (April 1998) and surprisingly, diamonds.com (Aug 1994). Even something like news.com wasn't registered until May 1996.

Realistically, I think your domain-speculating character would start buying in 1996 or even 1997. It took a little while for people to realise that there would be interest in names that were not yet associated with a particular company, i.e. that the money wasn't in buying burgerking.com and trying to sell it back to them, but in buying burgers.com and selling it to the highest bidder.

Cheers.

PeterL
09-21-2009, 08:27 PM
Tim Bernes-Lee proposed the idea of the world wide web in 1989, but it was only really with the release of the Mosiac browser in 1993 that the modern web slowly began. Almost no home user had web access at this time -- they were either on a system like AoL/Compuserve, or had a shell account. It wasn't until 1995 that web usage trickled into the home market in any signifigant way, and even then, it was a very small percentage of the US population.

You can tell when a domain was first registered by looking up their whois information. I checked a few from my last post: sex.com (Oct 1995), porn.com (Aug 1995), business.com (April 1998) and surprisingly, diamonds.com (Aug 1994). Even something like news.com wasn't registered until May 1996.

Realistically, I think your domain-speculating character would start buying in 1996 or even 1997. It took a little while for people to realise that there would be interest in names that were not yet associated with a particular company, i.e. that the money wasn't in buying burgerking.com and trying to sell it back to them, but in buying burgers.com and selling it to the highest bidder.


Good information. I was on Prodigy starting in 1991. In 1994 Prodigy started providing access to the world wide web, but it was so slow that it had no use. I remember trying it soon after it became available, and I remember waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. Eventually I stopped trying.

Starting to speculate in domain names would have looked like a possible business sometime in the 1990's. I heard the idea well before anyone started doing it, but the problem was the cost of holding them for an unknown period of time.

I could have sworn that Symbolics.com was registered in 1982. One of my brothers worked there then, so it stuck in my mind. Maybe I saw a typo'd date in the past.

Tsu Dho Nimh
09-21-2009, 11:09 PM
Overwhelming growth forced the NSF to stop subsidizing domain registrations in 1995. InterNIC, due to budget demands, began imposing a $100.00 fee for each two-year registration.

So to get just a 2-year lock on 10 good basic names you had to invest $1,000 in 1995 until the competition was opened up in the early 2000s.


ADDING:
INTEL.COM, for example, was registered 25-Mar-1986 ... but their web site for browsers didn't happen until quite a while later.

Before the development of web browsers, there were other ways to find things ... GOPHER, FTP, and a lot of newsgroups. I remember FTP-ing into Fort Knox before Mosaic existed because they had marvelous jazz files on the servers.

Medievalist
09-22-2009, 12:09 AM
Georgina is correct. In addition, the first domain name was issued in 1982, so there was a long period when someone could have loaded up with names.

No, they couldn't. It was still very much DARPA stuff then.

PeterL
09-22-2009, 12:29 AM
No, they couldn't. It was still very much DARPA stuff then.

Yes, it now says 1985.

JulieHowe
09-22-2009, 07:14 AM
Author Faye Kellerman has a domain name ending in dot net, because a domain hoarder bought FayeKellerman dot com before she did, and he won't sell the domain name to her for a reasonable price. She used to explain this on her web page.

Apparently her husband and son learned from her mistake - both Jonathan and Jesse's websites end in dot com.