.com is one of the first gTLDs of the Internet's Domain Name System that is intended for commercial purposes. It was introduced in 1985 by IANA, which is responsible for the overall coordination and management of the DNS; the organization was led by Jon Postel at the time. The .com gTLD was introduced alongside other top level domains, which include .gov (government), .edu (education), .mil (military) and .org (organization).
.com is the most popular gTLD with more than 100 million registrants worldwide. The global demand for the .com gTLD remains strong as the number of global Internet users continues to grow. Verisign is the registry operator of the .com gTLD, and was approved by ICANN in 2006.
It is generally accepted that the vast majority of great .com names have been acquired, and the recent push for the new gTLD process can be seen as one response to this development.
The .com gTLD, along with the other original TLDs, was first administered by the United States Department of Defense under the Defense Advance Advance Research Project Agency, which was first implemented in 1985. The Network Information Center, which was run by SRI International, was the first assigned registrar and administrator of the first domain names. NIC was responsible for registering and hosting the domain names, as well as administering the IP addresses.
On October 1, 1991, the administration of the .com and all the TLDs was transfered to Government Systems, Inc.. It assumed all of SRI's service responsibilities, such as domain name registration, online informations services and help desk operations, as well as RFC and Internet-Draft archive and distribution services. The Internet registration services were provided by Defense Information System Agency (DISA) NIC, which was also operated by Government Systems Inc. This task was sub-contracted by GSI to Network Solutions (NSI).
The legislation of the Scientific and Advanced Technology Act in 1992 gave an expanded mandate to the National Science Foundation, a statutory body with authority in supporting and an strengthening basic scientific research, engineering, and educational activities in the United States, including the maintenance of computer networks to connect research and educational institutions to assume the responsibility in coordinating and funding the management of the non-military portion of the Internet infrastructure, pursuant to the High-Performance Computing Act which was legislated on December 9, 1991.
In 1993, NSF and NSI entered a five-year cooperative agreement, which appointed NSI as the sole provider of domain name registrations for .com, .net, and .org gTLDs. In 2000, Network Solutions was acquired by Verisign, which retained NSI's registry business. Verisign is the curent registry operator of the .com gTLD.
Controversial.com Domain Names
Sex.com was one of the most controversial domain names, and the drama involved has provided enough fodder for two separate books to be written on the topic. It was first registered through Network Solutions in 1994 by Gary Kremen. The ownership of the sex.com was transfered by NSI to Stephen Cohen in 1995 when he submitted forged ownership transfer documents to Network Solutions. Kremen accused Network Solutions of negligent transfer and filed charges against Cohen demanding the return of his ownership to sex.com and return the profits accumulated by the site.
In 2001, US District Judge James Ware ruled in favor of Kremen and directed Cohen to pay $65 million in lost revenue and damages to Cohen. Cohen ignored the court order and became a fugitive, an arrest warrant was issued for his arrest. Kremen offered a $50,000 reward for Cohen's arrest.
In 2004, Kremen and Verisign agreed to settle their legal battle out of court for an undisclosed amount after the court of appeals ruled that Network Solutions was held liable for the negligence of transferring the sex.com domain to Cohen without verifying if the transfer was made by the true owner. The settlement was thought to be worth around $20 million.
Cohen was finally turned over to U.S. authorities on October 27th, 2005. He had spent 6 years on the lam, hiding in Mexico and siphoning his money to offshore accounts via a system of shell companies. He was first apprehended by Mexican authorities on grounds of immigration violations. Cohen had been considered a fugitive by the U.S. Justice Department since May, 2001.
The domain was later sold for $11.5 million to Michael Mann, and his company Escom; he later filed for bankruptcy and the sale of sex.com was announced and cancelled at least once. He then sold it though an auction with Sedo for $13 million to Clover Holdings.
Another controversial domain name was races.com, which was bought for thousands of dollars by MBA student John McLanahan. Network Solutions inadvertently bungled the transfer of races.com and put it on the available list. SportWorld Ltd, a domain name speculator registered the domain name through Register.com, a competing registrar; Network Solutions had no authority to make Register.com return the domain. SportWorld Ltd. advertised races.com for $500,000. John McLanahan suffered the loss of payment and received no compensation, other than an apology from Network Solutions.
Overcrowding of .Com Domain Space
.com is the most popular and widely registered top level domain name by internet users worldwide. In 2000, there were more than 20 million registered names under the .com domain name space. The overcrowding of the .com domain space has resulted in difficulties for users to find appealing domain names. This led to a proposal from the Internet community to create new gTLDs to solve the problem. On April 18-19, 2000, during the ICANN Yokohama meeting, the DNSO Names Council proposed the implementation of new TLDs to promote competition of domain name registration business, enhance the utility of the DNS, and increase the available number of domain names. On November 16, 2000, ICANN approved seven new gTLDs which include .biz, .info, .name, .pro, .museum, .aero and .coop to ease up the exhaustion of the .com and the .net domain space. Further expansion of available gTLDs is expected to be authorized at ICANN's 2011 meeting in Singapore.
List of Earliest Registered .Com Domain Names
- Symbolics.com - March 15, 1985
- BBN.com - April 24, 1985
- Think.com - May 24, 1985
- MCC.com - July 11, 1985
- DEC.com - September 30, 1985
- Northrop.com - May 24, 1985
- Xerox.com - Jan. 9, 1986
- SRI.com - Jan. 17, 1986
- HP.com - May 3, 1986
- Bellcore.com - March 5, 1986
- IBM.com - March 19, 1986
- Sun.com - March 19, 1986
- Intel.com - March 25, 1986
- TI.com - March 25, 1986
- ATT.com - April 25, 1986
- GMR.com - May 8, 1986
- TEK.com - May 8, 1986
- FMC.com - July 10, 1986
- UB.com - July 10, 1986
- Bell-ATL.com - August 5, 1986
- GE.com - August 5, 1986
Premium .Com Domain Names
The strong demand of registration under the .com domain space, and the dwindling available names, has resulted in a significant increase of value for premium domains on the aftermarket, with certain domains costing millions of dollars. Some of the most expensive domain names that were sold under the .com domain name space include:
- Insure.com- purchased by QuinStreet for $16 million in 2009
- Sex.com - purchased by Clover Holdings Ltd for $14 million in 2006
- Fund.com- sold to Fund.com Inc for $9.99 million in 2008
- Porn.com- sold by Moniker for $9.5 million in 2007
- Business.com - sold to Jake Winebaum and Sky Dayton for $7.5 million in 1999
- Diamond.com- bought by Ice.com for $7.5 million in 2006
- Beer.com- sold for $7 million in 2004
- Israel.com- Sold for $5.88 million in 2004 to undisclosed buyer
- Casino.com- sold for $5.5 million in 2003
- Toys.com- purchased by Toys ‘R Us for $5.1 million in 2009
- ↑ RFC 920
- ↑ verisigninc.com
- ↑ www.icann.org
- ↑ Com Passed 100 Million Mark in October, DomainIncite.com
- ↑ RFC 920
- ↑ SRI International
- ↑ RFC 1020
- ↑ RFC 1261
- ↑ RFC 1261
- ↑ NSI-NSF Cooperative Agreement
- ↑ Network Solutions History
- ↑ .com Registry Agreement
- ↑ DomainNameNews.com
- ↑ Kremen vs. Cohen
- ↑ Sex.com owner wins $65 million damages
- ↑ $50,000 Reward for the Man who Stole SEx.com
- ↑ Kremen & Verisign Settlement Agreement
- ↑ TheRegister.co.uk
- ↑ The Register.co.uk
- ↑ DomainNameNews.com
- ↑ Sedo.com
- ↑ News.TechWorld.com
- ↑ Namemon.com
- ↑ Races.com
- ↑ NYTimes.com
- ↑ www.icann.org
- ↑ Whois oldest .com domains
- ↑ Most Expensive .Com Domain Names