VeriSign Celebrates 25 Years of .COM

VeriSign is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the registration of the first .COM domain name on 15 March by holding a summit of internet policymakers, industry leaders and other stakeholders in Washington, D.C. with President Clinton to address internet policymakers and industry leaders.On 15 March 1985, was the first .COM registered, registered by Symbolics computers of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Only five more .COM domain names were registered in that year and it took until 1997 for the one millionth .COM domain to be registered. Today there are over 80 million .COM websites out of a total of 192 million domain names around the world, as of the end of 2009.The commercialisation of the web took until the early 1990s with very few people knowing what a .COM, and many other internet-related terms and issues, was.As BBC News notes, “the need for some sort of organising principles became apparent as more bodies connected into the fledgling internet but there is confusion as to the exact genesis of dotcom.””It is unlikely that the early dotcoms were thought of as businesses as the early internet was not seen as a place for commerce but rather as a platform for governmental and educational bodies to trade ideas,” the BBC News report continues.”Scholars generally agree that a turning point was the introduction of the Mosaic web browser by Netscape that brought mainstream consumers on to the web.”While its economic and social impact is undisputed, for the first time the economic impact of .COM has been quantified in a new study that found that the domain serves as a platform for $400 billion in annual economic activity. The report, by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), found that the broader internet economy drives more than $1.5 trillion in global annual economic activity, more than the global sales of medicine, investment in renewable energy, and government investment in R&D, combined. The ITIF estimates that the economic activity flowing across the .com infrastructure is likely to grow to $950 billion in annual revenue by 2020.It has also become part of the fabric of daily life for Americans. According to a recent poll of over 3,800 Americans by an independent research firm, 81 per cent visit five or more .COM websites a day, with many visiting more than that. Two-thirds of Americans visit between five and 25 .COM websites a day. And, nearly two-thirds of Americans have used a .COM website to reconnect with an old friend, with six per cent reporting that they met their spouse or significant other on a .COM website. Over half of respondents reported finding important medical information on a .COM website and one in five said they found a job on a .COM site.The .COM domain remains at the centre of nearly every major Internet trend. According to VeriSign’s Internet Profiling Service there are 11.9 million e-commerce and online business websites, 1.8 million sports-related sites and 4.3 million entertainment-related sites with a .com web address. The most popular words among .COM URL’s today include “home” (1.2 million), “online” (1 million) and “land” (891,000).”For anyone under the age of 30, they probably don’t remember when the Internet wasn’t in their life. It’s become such an essential part of how we work, live and play. The 25th anniversary of .com gives us a moment to step back and realize how deeply the internet revolution has transformed our society,” said Mark McLaughlin, CEO and president of VeriSign. “At VeriSign, we’re proud of the role we play in helping bring the internet to people, but we never take for granted that we have to continue to build and strengthen the internet so it can continue to meet the increasing demands placed upon it.”In looking ahead to the next chapter in the history of .COM and its integral role in the internet, and as part of its commitment to the internet infrastructure, VeriSign has embarked on a new initiative called Project Apollo. This initiative will dramatically strengthen and scale the .com infrastructure by the year 2020. Over the next three years alone, the internet will see the number of users increase by 500 million to 2.2 billion worldwide, and devices accessing the internet increase from 1.6 billion devices to 2.7 billion devices. And with the emergence of innovations like smart grids, electronic health care and radio frequency ID (RFID) tags, the Internet and associated technology systems will undergo profound changes in the next decade.To meet the infrastructure challenges expected by 2020, VeriSign is scaling and in some cases revamping the infrastructure that keeps .com running. VeriSign’s 2020 technology roadmap calls for it to grow capacity 1,000 times today’s level of 4 trillion queries to manage 4 quadrillion queries per day to support normal and peak attack volumes based on what the company has experienced as well as Internet attack trends.”Over the last 15 years, there have been numerous predictions of the Internet’s imminent collapse. But the Internet infrastructure has withstood not only a dramatic increase in both users and usage, but malicious attacks because of the investment and efforts to continually scale it,” said Ken Silva, VeriSign CTO. “With the technology roadmap outlined in Project Apollo, we are building the infrastructure essential to manage the Internet’s next wave of growth as increasing demands put stress on the system and drive a dramatic increase in traffic.”