Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I remember when ...

(This is a post for Mama Kat's challenge .)

I remember when ... I registered my first domain name. It was the pre-historic stone age of the internet. In fact, at the time there was no internet. A small group of universities had begun experimenting with a thing called DARPA net, but there was very little connectivity and nothing but DARPA related usage. Machines that communicated at all used a store and forward dial-up network based on the uucp protocol to exchange email. If you were lucky, fast links exceeded 110 baud up to 300 baud. The dinosaur phone companies still monopolized the earth. Some of us even took to wearing animal furs as a step up from the fig leaves then in vogue. {*grin*}

Seriously, there was no network, browsers were a distant gleam and the PC had not yet been been invented. I wanted to exchange email with some colleagues via the store and forward uucp network that was just starting out and thus needed a domain name to specify my address. So I ponied up the 20 cents for postage stamp and mailed an application to domain registry (no commercial registrars yet) and a few weeks later got a letter authorizing my use of the domain name in perpetuity. No fees and no renewal.  I convinced the IT department at my employer to let me use a modem to connect to their machine as my local store point and let them forward it late at night via their phone line. So I was emailing happily in the stone-age.

Several years later, networking cards became available and local networks started to become common (still no internet). At that time I contacted the predecessor to ARIN and asked for some network numbers (IP addresses in modern lingo). They assigned me a Class C block that I still use today. At the time, there was no hint of a future value for the numbers nor was there a fear of running out of numbers. Today the impending shortage of numbers is driving the move to IPv6 . Back then, if you requested a lowly class C, it was granted. (Class C - 2^8 addresses) If you wanted a bigger Class B (2^16 addresses), you had to supply a justification letter. If you wanted a full class A block (2^24 addresses), you actually had to have a proposed use. Today you have to justify, show utilization, and pay a rather large fee every year. Even so, the chances are good you could not get a Class A address today under any circumstance.

To bring this journey into the past to a conclusion, I sold that original domain name in the early 90's when a couple of companies who share my last name got involved in a bidding war to acquire the domain. Once it reached a certain price, my response was simple - "Give me your best bid and the highest bidder gets it." Needless to say, that was the best investment I ever made in my life. Somewhere on the order of 25,000% growth a year. It also made me real glad my last name wasn't Smith. {*grin*}


  1. My, how times change! Thank you for that.

  2. wow, you really are a bit of a dinosaur aren't you!!! ;-)

  3. So WHAT was it!?! you're killing me.

  4. Just to relieve Mama Kat, the answer is Jones.
    The bidders were Jones Tool and Die out of Boston and Glenn Jones of Jones Intercable fame.
    The winner was Glenn, and he used it as the base for his award winning online university - visit www.jones.com to see the result.


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