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The Dot-Com as You Know It Is 30. This Is How It’s Changed the World

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor
Yahoo Tech

Exactly 30 years ago, on Sunday, March 15, 1985, a computer company in Massachusetts registered the world’s first dot-com domain: Symbolics.com. And with that, the dot-com era officially began.

By the end of 1985, Symbolics.com was still one of just a small number of registered domains. Today, of course, there are hundreds of millions of domains floating around the Internet.

The domain system is a key foundation of the World Wide Web, which was born in 1991, at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Sir Tim Berners-Lee was the father of that idea, but it wouldn’t have gone far without a universal address network like the domain system. 

The dot-com’s 30th birthday got us thinking about the Internet’s past. And that got us thinking about all of the dot-coms that came online in the past 30 years. And some that went.


The first dot-com domain to be registered, Symbolics.com helped usher in the dot-com era.

Photo: Internet Archive Wayback Machine


Yahoo was founded in 1994 as Jerry and Dave’s Guide to the World Wide Web, before being renamed Yahoo! later that year. The Yahoo.com domain was created in 1995.

Photo: Internet Archive Wayback Machine


Heavy-metal group Megadeth was the first band to have its own website: Megadeth.com launched in 1994. The site went dark for some time, and then the band resurrected it in 1998.

Photo: Internet Archive Wayback Machine


The Internet Movie Database, or IMDb, was the first site dedicated to movies when it launched in 1993. Since then, it has served as a linchpin in settling arguments between friends about random movie facts.

Photo: Internet Archive Wayback Machine


Talk about some pioneering pizza, Pizzahut.com was offering people the option to order their pies online as early as 1994. 

Photo: Internet Archive Wayback Machine

Trojan Room Coffee Pot

The first webcam broadcast over the Internet was of a simple coffee pot in the Trojan Room at the University of Cambridge. If only it had access to Skype.

Photo: University of Cambridge


Launched in 1994, CNET was one of the first major technology sites to take off and gain mainstream success.

Photo: Internet Archive Wayback Machine


MTV registered the domain for MTV.com way back in 1993 — you know, when they used to play music videos.

Photo: Internet Archive Wayback Machine


Not to be confused with the adult site whitehouse.com, whitehouse.gov was launched under the Clinton administration in 1994.

Photo: Internet Archive Wayback Machine


A battle over the ownership of the domain Sex.com, one of the most expensive domains ever sold, helped to establish legal precedent over domain-name disputes.

Photo: Internet Archive Wayback Machine


The oldest dating site on the Web, Match.com registered its domain in 1994. More than 20 years later, it’s still one of the largest such sites on earth.

Photo: Internet Archive Wayback Machine

Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley or on Google+.