The first .com domain name that was ever registered was Symbolics.com, on the 15th of March 1985 by the now defunct Massachusetts-based computer manufacturer Symbolics.
While the first that was created in January of that same year was Nordu.net (used to serve as the identifier of the first root server, nic.nordu.net), symbolics.com was the first domain name to actually be registered through the appropriate DNS process a few months later. This was of course long before there was a WWW, but you already had ‘the Internet’. In fact, the first TCP/IP-based wide-area network had already been operational for two years when nordu.net was created, right around the time the United States’ National Science Foundation (NSF) commissioned the construction of the legendary NSFNET, a university 56 kilobit/second network backbone. Only six companies thought it’d be a good idea to reserve the domain name on the root servers in 1985 (the others were bbn.com, think.com, mcc.com, dec.com and northrop.com). But Symbolics was first to make the move.
Remarkably, Symbolics.com hasn’t changed ownership once during the nearly 25 years that followed its initial registration. Marking an end to that era, domain name investment company XF.com Investments has just purchased the domain name for an undisclosed sum.
Which calls for a bit of history about the original owner:
Symbolics, Inc – a spinoff from the MIT AI Lab – was a computer manufacturer headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts and later in Concord, Massachusetts, that designed and manufactured a line of Lisp machines, single-user computers optimized to run the Lisp programming language. The machines became the first commercially available “general-purpose computers” or “workstations” way before those terms were coined.
The company also offered one of the premier software development environments of the 1980s and 1990s, now sold commercially as Open Genera for Tru64 UNIX on the HP Alpha.