When most people think about domain names, they think about the early days of AOL, old blogging sites like Geocities, and major brands like Google or Wikipedia. All of these are creations of the modern day Internet, but the history of domain names goes back much further.
Below is a bit of history on domain names, where domain names are at the current time, as well as why every business should register and own their own domain.
Domains were first used during the ARAPNET era. ARAPNET, short for Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, was an early predecessor to the modern Internet.
On this network, computers were assigned host names and numerical addresses. Over time, the network grew large enough that the Domain Name System was introduced to maintain an organized registry.
While ARAPNET was crude and underdeveloped by today’s standards, it set the groundwork for how the Internet would work, and how domains would be assigned in the future.
The Current State of Domains
Today, domains are overseen by the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names And Numbers, or ICANN. It was created in 1998 to coordinate and manage the Internet’s IP addresses as well as the current Domain Name System.
ICANN also promotes competition on the Internet, and accredits domain name registrars, like GoDaddy and Namecheap, to sell domain names to the general public. Today, there are roughly over 250 million domain names registered worldwide.
Domains are available in a number of extensions with varying price points per domain name. The most common gTLDs (generic) are .COM, .NET and .ORG. There are currently about 22 gTLDs, and many more ccTLDs which are country-specific domain name extensions. Many businesses have incorporated their business name with their extension out of convenience as well as for branding purposes.
Why Every Business Should Register a Domain Name
In this day and age, there is no reason for a business not to own a domain name. This should be the bare minimum. While some businesses may feel that domain ownership holds no benefit for them, they are almost always mistaken.
Domain ownership accomplishes two important tasks:
- Allows you some level of control over your brand online and prevent scammers and spammers from tarnishing your reputation.
- The ability to reach new clients that may not have found your business through offline, traditional means.
The first point may not be a major concern to most businesses. Small businesses and those who operate in local markets will most likely never have the same reputation management problems that larger businesses face.
The second point should of a concern to every business owner. Even if you operate exclusively in the offline world, a professional looking website still allows for an online “face” to be put on your business.
This allows those who may be researching your business to see what your business is about. The people who may benefit from this information include potential clients, members of the press and even investors.
Considering the relatively low cost for set up and maintenance, it makes little sense to not register a domain name and put up a nice looking website with basic company information and contact details.
The offline and digital worlds are merging at a rate faster than ever. While domain names were once an organizational necessity, they are now a small part of the cost of doing business.