The world’s oldest .com domain name has reached its 32nd birthday, outliving the very company it was named after. Symbolics Computer Corporation, a Massachusetts-based technology company, first registered symbolics.com on 15 March 1985. Now, despite Symbolics Computer Corporation having ceased trading in 2005, its domain name is currently still active, and is now owned by an investment company. Being the world’s oldest .com domain name, symbolics.com is potentially worth a lot of money, not so much for businesses wanting to use it as a trade name, but to investment companies that know such a vintage website address is bound to appeal to collectors.
When symbolics.com was first registered in 1985, nobody knew how big the internet was going to get. In fact, at the end of that year, only a further four .com domain names were registered: BBN.com, Think.com, DEC.com and MCC.com. In the early days of the World Wide Web, when the internet was primarily used as a research tool for universities, .edu domain names were more prevalent than the corporate .com. In 1985, 12 .edu websites were registered, as the internet started to spread around educational institutions. The oldest top-level domain isn’t a .com or a .edu, however, but nordu.net, which the Nordic Infrastructure for Research & Education Network registered a few months earlier than symbolics.com. However, .com was destined soon to overtake .net and .edu as the most prevalent domain addresses as the internet moved from an educational tool to a necessity of business and commerce.
It took a further two years before .com domains finally reached their first milestone of 100 registrations, and it took a decade before .com domains reached 120,000 registrations, which is a tiny amount compared to the 100 million .com domains currently registered. Now, top level domain names (TLDs), particularly those with generic titles or brand names are worth thousands of pounds with some, such as sex.com and the recently sold privatejet.com fetching many millions when they are sold.