14 surprising facts about the history of the Internet

The internet has been around for decades. Although we use it every day, there are some surprising facts about the history of the Internet that most people are not aware of. Here we list fourteen of the most surprising facts about the history of the Internet.

1. Domain name registration was once free

Domain name-extensions

Today, domain name registration costs about $10-$20 per year, depending on various factors. Some expensive domains are even auctioned for millions of dollars.

But in the past, domain name registration was completely free. However, in 1995 there was a $100 fee for two-year domain name registrations, although this has now been significantly reduced.

2. The first spam email was sent in 1978

Despite strict email filters, spam emails still slip through and end up in our inboxes today. But email spam is nothing new. In fact, it dates back to 1978, when Gary Tuerke sent unsolicited emails to ARPANET users to sell them computers.

It should be noted here that the word “spam” was not used at that time. Later in 1993, a USENET user coined the term “spam” as a joke.

Since then, spam emails have been a constant concern, even with tighter controls. And if you’re also tired of spam emails, try using disposable email services to sign up for websites.

3. Amazon was originally called Cadabra

Amazon site mobile

It’s a widely known fact that Amazon started as a bookstore. But few people know that now the first name of Amazon was Cadabra. This name was inspired by abracadabra, a magic spell.

However, Jeff Bezos changed the name to Amazon after his lawyer said it sounded too similar to the word “duh”. Bezos then chose a new name for Amazon because it started with A and represented the largest river.

4. The color of Facebook is blue because…

You put a lot of thought into choosing the right color for your brand. But that wasn’t the case with Facebook. Being red-green color blind, Mark Zuckerberg chose the color blue for his mind because it is the most visible color for him.

5. Myspace lost all its data uploaded before 2016

Myspace was the most popular social networking site before the current giants took over. It had a lot of early memories for the Millennium, including some silly ones. But when moving servers, Myspace accidentally lost all the images, videos and songs that were stored before 2016.

6. Why do email addresses contain the @ symbol?


Due to its use in email addresses, @ has become a commonly used symbol today. However, it was not the same back then. In fact, @ was used in email addresses because it was one of the least used keyboard symbols.

In 1971, when Ray Tomlinson was inventing what is now known as email. Along with all the other symbols used in usernames, Ray chose @.

7. The first browser was WorldWideWeb

Berners-Lee, the founder of World Wide, also developed the first browser called WorldWideWeb, which was later called Nexus. It worked both as a browser and as an editor.

However, the WorldWideWeb was not widely adopted, so most people only remember Mosaic and Netscape as the earliest browsers. And if you’re interested in browsers, here’s the history of Internet Explorer.

8. Meaning of CAPTCHA

Although necessary from a security perspective, CAPTCHA is perhaps the most annoying thing on the web. Although we all know what CAPTCHA is, not many people know what it means.

CAPTCHA is actually an acronym that stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart.” Pretty self-descriptive, huh?

9. Google comes from Googol

Google headquarters

If you don’t know, Googol is a number with 100 zeros. The founders of Google chose this number because it represents their mission to organize the endless information available on the Internet.

However, when registering a domain name, Sean Anderson mistyped it as Google, and that’s how the search engine got its name.

10. Wi-Fi is not an acronym

As we’ve explained before, Wi-Fi means nothing. Most people mistake Wi-Fi as a short form of Wireless Fidelity, but that’s not true. The previous name of this technology was IEEE 802.11b, so it was simplified to Wi-Fi. This rhymed with hi-fi and was much easier to remember.

However, the Wi-Fi Alliance later used the title “The Standard for Wireless Fidelity”, leading many to believe that it was the full form of Wi-Fi.

11. The first thing sold on the Internet

The market size of the e-commerce industry is now $5 trillion. But how did it all begin, and what was the first to be sold online? James Bartlett in his book. The Dark Net. Inside the Digital Underworld:notes that the first thing sold online was marijuana.

Although the transaction was arranged online, the actual sale took place in person. The first true online transaction occurred in 1994 when Dan Cohn sold a CD of a music album and payment was made online.

12. Goats Mow Google and Yahoo headquarters

Grazing goats

Technology companies have worked to reduce their carbon footprint for years. But Google and Yahoo took it a step further by hiring goats to mow the lawn.

In 2009, Google contracted with California Grazing to provide 200 goats to graze their Mountain View headquarters. Yahoo did the same in 2007. Although these incidents came to light over a decade ago, we’re not sure if the same holds true today.

13. Queen Elizabeth II became the first monarch to send an email

During her visit to the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment in 1976, Queen Elizabeth II sent a letter over the ARPANET. Peter Kirsten helped him send the email, making him the first royal to do so.

Although Queen Elizabeth II was one of the earliest users of email, she joined Twitter and Instagram a bit later, in 2014 and 2019 respectively.

14. Berners-Lee regrets adding double slashes to URLs

Despite all the accolades she’s received for her work, Berners-Lee does have one regret. Adds double backslashes to URLs (after “http:”).

He believes that he could skip this cut if he wanted to. But only later did he realize that these cuts were a waste of time and paper.

The history of the Internet is not so boring

Whether you’re a nerd or want to impress your friends with some little-known facts, you’ll enjoy these. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many similar facts about computers, the Internet, and even tech giants like Google. And if you’re an internet buff, you’ll surely find them interesting.

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