Dot-Com Turns 25: A Look Back

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5. DEC.com, September 30, 1984 (R.I.P.)

The fifth dot-com domain ever registered, DEC.com, now resolves to a page on the site of Hewlett-Packard -- which is where you can still find technology created by onetime computing powerhouse Digital Equipment Corp. The Massachusetts company, founded in 1957, competed with IBM in the minicomputer market.

DEC was acquired in 1998 by Compaq, which in turn merged with HP in 2002, so today HP owns DEC's technology, its name, and its domain, and still sells some products derived from DEC equipment.

Now we'll move to an interesting domain that isn't even counted among the first 100 dot-com domain names: sex.com

Sex.Com -- registered October 18, 1995

Perhaps owing to its infamous and prurient moniker, Sex.com has one of the most interesting histories among dot-com names. The site, surprisingly, wasn't registered until 1995 at the beginning of the dot-com craze of the 1990s. It was first registered by Gary Kremen, founder of Match.com, but Kremen never did much with the domain because he was busy with his other Web properties.

Eventually, a con man named Stephen Cohen stole Sex.com from Kremen by forging a letter that convinced the site's domain name registrar to transfer the dot-com from Kremen to Cohen. Here's what Sex.com looked like in 1996 after it was reportedly under Cohen's control:

By 2001, Kremen was able to get Sex.com back, and the site went through a variety of visual overhauls, which we won't show you here. Kremen eventually sold Sex.com for a rumored $14 million in 2006. It didn't take long after the sale for Escom, the company that bought the domain, to run into financial trouble. Sex.com is now for sale, and will be sold in a public auction by the New York law offices of Windels Marx Lane and Wittendorf on Thursday, March 18 at 11 AM ET. The site won't come cheap, however, just to get in the door you have to have a certified bank check for $1 million.

You can hear the full story of Sex.com from NPR's On the Media, and you can download Sex.com's notice of sale here (PDF).

Want more domain name history? Check out The Internet's Oldest Dot-com Domain Names.

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