Enter app
Published October 20, 2023

About .com Domains

A comprehensive guide to the .com domain

A Brief History

When we trace the history of .com, we’re essentially tracing the evolution of the modern internet. .com was not just a domain; it was a statement—a precursor to the digital revolution that would sweep across the world. When Symbolics, Inc., a computer manufacturer, registered the first .com domain on March 15, 1985, it was stepping into uncharted territory. At that point, the internet was mostly used by universities and research institutions, and .com was a radical new idea.

The Role of Jon Postel and the Birth of TLDs

Jon Postel, often considered one of the founding fathers of the internet, and his team at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute were given the Herculean task of bringing order to the chaotic web of interconnected networks. Jon Postel became the editor for the Request for Comments (RFC), a series of documents that laid the groundwork for the internet’s architecture. RFC 920, published in October 1984, defined the need and structure for TLDs, setting the stage for .com and its sibling domains like .edu, .gov, .mil, .net, .org, and .int.

The Initial Concept: .cor to .com

Originally, .cor was proposed as the domain for corporations. However, by the time the final version of the system was released, .cor was switched to .com. While the exact reason for this change isn’t well-documented, the shift marked a critical moment in internet history, given .com’s subsequent influence.

The Unintended Commercial Explosion

Jack Haverty, an internet pioneer, noted that .com was initially more about “company” than “commercial.” The early internet was a military and academic project, not a marketplace. However, as more businesses realized the potential of a web presence, .com quickly became synonymous with online commerce.

Transition to Civilian Control

Initially administered by the U.S. Department of Defense, the domain transitioned to civilian control over time. On January 1, 1993, the National Science Foundation took over responsibility, as .com began to serve broader non-defense interests. The maintenance contract was awarded to Network Solutions, which later became a part of Verisign.

The Commercialization and the Dot-Com Bubble

The late 1990s saw the commercialization of the internet, with many startups and established companies rushing to claim .com domains. This led to the “dot-com bubble,” a period of excessive speculation and investment in internet-related companies. When the bubble burst around 2001, many of these companies folded, but the .com domain emerged more robust than ever, continuing to dominate the digital landscape.

The Present Day

As of now, .com is the largest TLD, with 145.4 million registered domains as of March 2020. Verisign, the current operator, continues to manage the domain with a focus on security, stability, and resilience, ensuring that .com remains the go-to domain for commercial entities and individuals alike.

With these additional historical details, the article now has a more complete view of the .com domain’s rich history, showing how it evolved from a novel concept to a cornerstone of the modern internet.

Is the .COM TLD the Best Domain for a Business?

The .com TLD has long been considered the gold standard for business websites. Its recognizability and credibility are unparalleled, making it an obvious choice for many businesses. However, this does not mean it’s always the best fit for every situation. While a .com domain offers a certain level of prestige, new TLDs like .tech or .design can provide more specific branding opportunities. Local businesses may also benefit from country code TLDs like .co.uk or .au to emphasize their local roots. Ultimately, the best domain for your business depends on your target audience, branding strategy, and availability of the domain name.

Is .COM the Best for SEO?

There’s a commonly held belief that a .com domain is superior for search engine optimization (SEO). While it’s true that .com domains are often more easily recognized and remembered, search engines like Google claim to treat all domain extensions equally in terms of SEO. What really matters for SEO is not the TLD itself but how well your website is optimized in terms of content, user experience, and backlinks. Still, the familiarity of a .com might lead to higher click-through rates, indirectly benefiting your site’s SEO. The .com domain extension has long been a favorite in domain auctions like GoDaddy auctions and even on platforms like Sedo.

How to Get a .COM

  1. Domain Research: Use domain name search tools to check the availability of your desired .com name. like 3DNS name search or GoDaddy domain search.
  2. Choose a Registrar: Select a domain registrar accredited by ICANN to facilitate the registration process, like 3DNS, GoDaddy, Namecheap, Sedo or Dan.com
  3. Register the Domain: Complete the registration process, which usually involves providing contact information and making a payment.
  4. Configuration: After registration, you’ll receive access to a control panel where you can manage DNS settings, email configurations, and more.
  5. Renewal: Keep an eye on the expiration date and make sure to renew your domain before it lapses to avoid losing ownership.

3 Fun Facts About .COM

  1. First Sale: The first-ever recorded online transaction was a drug deal—between Stanford and MIT students using the early ARPANET—for a small bag of marijuana.
  2. Dot-Com Bubble: The term “dot-com bubble” refers to the period of excessive speculation in late ’90s, where any business with a .com domain was considered valuable, leading to an eventual market crash.
  3. Most Expensive Domain: The most expensive .com domain ever sold is LasVegas.com, which was purchased for a staggering $90 million in 2005.

The First Five: Pioneers in the .com Domain

The early adopters of the .com domain serve as milestones in internet history. The first five .com domains were registered by companies that were largely technology-focused, and they laid the groundwork for what the .com domain would eventually become—a ubiquitous symbol for online business and presence.

1. Symbolics.com - March 15, 1985

The very first .com domain was registered by Symbolics, Inc., a computer manufacturer that specialized in symbolic mathematical computations and artificial intelligence. The domain is now owned by a small group of investors who use it as a web portal.

2. BBN.com - April 24, 1985

The second .com domain was registered by BBN Technologies, a research and development company known for pioneering the development of the ARPANET, a predecessor to the modern internet.

3. Think.com - May 24, 1985

This domain was registered by Thinking Machines Corporation, a company that developed parallel supercomputers.

4. MCC.com - July 11, 1985

Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC) was an American research consortium for microelectronics, computer technology, and advanced microprocessor development.

5. DEC.com - September 30, 1985

Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) was a major player in the computer industry and a leader in the minicomputer market from the 1960s until the 1990s.

The early adopters of the .com domain were not just securing a digital address; they were making a strategic move that would become a standard practice for businesses in the years to come. These five domains serve as a time capsule, preserving the legacy of the internet’s commercial pioneers.

Registry Agreement

The registry agreement for the .com TLD between the registry operator, Verisign, and ICANN is a crucial document that outlines the terms and conditions of operating the .com domain namespace. This agreement is essential for ensuring the stability, security, and reliability of the .com domain for registrants and internet users worldwide. You can view the full registry agreement on the ICANN website.

The Enduring Legacy of .COM

The .com domain is not merely a digital address; it’s a narrative arc that mirrors the internet’s own trajectory from an esoteric military project to the backbone of global commerce and communication. From its origins in the mind of Jon Postel to its role in the dot-com bubble and beyond, .com has evolved to become a cultural and commercial linchpin, resilient in the face of technological upheavals and market volatility. It’s more than a TLD—it’s a testament to the adaptability and ambition that drive the digital age. As new domains emerge and the digital landscape diversifies, .com endures as both an anchor and a compass, its legacy intrinsically tied to the past, present, and future of the internet itself.