30 Years Of Dot-com, But Will It Become Obsolete?

by Sohini Bagchi    Mar 16, 2015


Dot-com is the world’s most recognised web suffix, with over 115 million dot-com domains registered worldwide, representing about half of all web addresses. But even after 30 years, many people are questioning whether it can continue to retain its dominance.

Launched by the US Department of Defence, dot-com was originally intended as an internet designation for “commercial entities”. Technology company Symbolics registered the first dot-com domain name, symbolics.com, and remains the oldest registered dot-com domain on the Internet.

Dot-com started off rather slowly, with only a handful of companies initially registering a domain. The first to get involved were largely technology companies in the 1980s but by late 1990s over a million dot-com domain names had been registered, and the internet boom was well underway. The association with commercial entities was lost when .com, .org and .net were opened for unrestricted registration the mid-1990s.

Meanwhile, the internet evolved from being confined to academics and researchers and moved globally as an information-sharing channel and for trade and business.

Today, dot-com websites are accessed trillions of times each day. Millions of entrepreneurs have built their businesses online with dot-com, and the biggest names in business have branded their companies with dot-com addresses. Some believe that dot-com is now almost synonymous with the internet.

“Dot-com is more than just an address. It’s a globally recognised and respected brand itself that nearly every major global brand, including 100 per cent of the Fortune 500, has entrusted with their online presence,” said Jim Bidzos, executive chairman, president and CEO at Verisign, a leader in domain names.

However, with over 115 million dot-com domains already taken by existing websites or investors, it can be a challenge for consumers and businesses to acquire the dot-com domain name of their choice, unless they have very deep pockets.

Acording to a TOI report, while the buzz around dot-com has been phenomenal over the years, the lack of options and more so because of the demand to try out other domain structures, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an international agency responsible for the naming process, started rolling out new website ’suffixes’. And first in the line, paying about Rs 1 crore each, were at least 21 top Indian businesses houses like RIL, Bharati Airtel, State Bank of India, Tata Industries, HDFC, it says.

The innovations started as soon as ICANN approved a few of the new suffixes, called generic top level domains or gTLD, to the applicants  as the internet has opened ways to include .doctor, .architect which will enable individuals and businesses to create communities in their niche areas.


With over 1,06,086 dot-com registrations daily, the suffix was preferred because of its credibility, easy recognition and resale value. But experts believe the market for websites has been growing and there are challenges around the availability of names in the dot-com space, as a result they say it is imperative that they look at newer options now.