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Oldest .com, Symbolics, Turns 25: Beware the Ides of March?

Today is the twenty-fifth birthday of the oldest-registered .com domain, Symbolics.com; it’s also the Ides of March, or the anniversary of the Roman military festival when Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Roman Senate following a warning from a seer. Surely there’s a coincidental reading here? We leave that to you.

In any event: Symbolics.com was launched by the now-departed Cambridge computer manufacturer Symbolics, Inc., which was based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and had spun off from MIT’s AI Lab, so they were in the thick of things in the days of the early Internet. The company went bankrupt in the mid-’90s (but not before their graphics division helped animate the orca in Free Willy), and symbolics.com was sold to a domain name investment company, XF Investments, last year.

The BBC philosophizes on the ways dotcom domains have changed our lives (including a money quote to the effect that you can’t really “live an okay life” without using dotcoms every day):

With 668,000 dotcom sites registered every month, they have become part of the fabric of our lives.

Today people go to dotcom sites to shop, connect with friends, book holidays, be entertained, learn new things and exchange ideas.

“Dotcoms have touched us in a way we could not have imagined,” Robert Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) told BBC News. “It used to be, 10 years ago you could live an okay life if you weren’t engaged on a dot com site on a daily basis. You could get what you needed. But today we see how dotcoms have enriched our lives that if you are not engaged you would be fine but much further behind than the rest of us.”

Rounding out the ten oldest registered domains, courtesy of iWhoIs: 2: BBN.com, 3: Think.com, 4: MCC.com, 5: DEC.com, 6: Northrop.com, 7: Xerox.com [not until 1986], 8: SRI.com, 9: HP.com, and 10: Bellcore.com; IBM.com came in at #11, in March of ’86.

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