Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Last time I tried to register a domain of 2 characters it told me it had to be of more than 2 characters. How is it possible that paypal has

http://x.com

Is there a special way to go about this? obviously - a.com - b.com c.com are not taken(else cyber squatters would have been sitting on it since the early 90's)

Do you know how this works?

share

locked by Iain Jan 29 '13 at 16:05

This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here. This question and its answers are frozen and cannot be changed. More info: help center.

4 Answers 4

up vote 34 down vote accepted

It was purchased before 1993 by Weinstein & DePaolis, and subsequently sold to Paypal (or the company was bought out). In 1993 IANA reserved all remaining single letter second-level domains, and grandfathered the ones already issued. Other functional, corporate examples domains are t.co (Twitter) and q.com (Qwest).

I hate to cite Wikipedia as a source, but it has an acceptable article on Single-letter second-level domains:

On December 1, 1993, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) explicitly reserved the remaining single-letter and single-digit domain names. The few domains that were already assigned were grandfathered in and continued to exist.

The assigned domains in this group are the following:

i.net  INet Solutions Ltd     Future Media Architects
q.com  JG                     Qwest
q.net  Privately owned        Privately owned
x.com  Weinstein & DePaolis   PayPal
x.org  The Open Group         X.Org Foundation
z.com  HomePage.com           Nissan Motors

As of April 2009 only three domains, i.net, x.com and x.org host a web site. q.com is active but redirects to qwest.com.

share
2  
nice answer. Excellent wikipedia para-phrashing –  Nick Kavadias Sep 4 '10 at 12:02
2  
+1 for not treating Wikipedia as an authority on anything. –  John Gardeniers Sep 5 '10 at 21:31
9  
@John wikipedia is pretty much an authority on EVERYTHING. –  Chris Marisic Sep 5 '10 at 22:08
7  
@Izzy + John - Old-school thinking there folks. Wikipedia is a fine reference source so long as all parties understand how it works and the obvious due-diligence/caveaty that implies. The early 'wikipedia is not reliable' meme seemed to be perpetuated by people who were shocked - SHOCKED to discover that any old joe bloggs could edit it! Horror! –  Chris Thorpe Sep 6 '10 at 8:16
2  
I find it ironic that searching for "Reliability of wikipedia" on Google returns with the first result as the "Reliability of Wikipedia" article on... Wikipedia. Redundant: see recursion. –  Wesley Sep 17 '10 at 7:37

From the book 'The Paypal Wars', page 100:

It seems that the rumor back in the day was that Elon Musk (current CEO of Tesla Motors) paid $1millon for X.com.

share

I'm not 100% sure but I believe it involves rubbing elbows with verisign execs, being very early on the internet (1993) and quite possibly a lot of money.

share
1  
26 characters, limited supply. Yep, if you're willing to pay, you will get it. –  Fiasco Labs Jan 28 '13 at 4:18

I don't know how Paypal has x.com, but a.com, b.com and c.com seem to be registered to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), and has been since 1992. Most of the single-letter .com domains are like that except q.com (qwest; since 1999?), x.com (paypal, since 1993?), and z.com (nissan, since 1997?)

You have to check the whois database to see what's taken and by whom.

I think the 1 letter domains were taken up by IANA back in 1992 and they made 3 exceptions. And the 2 letter domains are simply all taken so it's simplest for your registrar to tell you to not even bother with a 2 letter domain.

share

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.