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First off, my co-worker says that DNS domain names were about $100 back then, not $20.

Can someone tell me what the DNS name purchase process in that time was like, how much the domain cost, and any other relevant information...

My first purchase of a domain was in 2002, almost 10 years after the first applications were accepted, and when e-commerce was broadly accepted. The experience in the mid-90's must have been completely different.

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Memory... so... hazy. There was a form. You had to explain your use of the domain, and justify .com, .org, or .net. (It was unclear if anyone really cared, but maybe they did.) – mattdm Jan 21 '11 at 18:43
up vote 2 down vote accepted

During the first Internet bubble^H^H^H^H^Hoom, the Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC) was turned into a private company, Network Solutions.

They were, for a time, the sole registrar for .com .net and .org domain names. Educational institutions used .edu, but I don't recall who was in charge of those registrations. For quite a while, it was $70 for two years, with no option of getting just one year for $35.

Looking at my whois record at and the company's IP range, it looks like we registered our .com in 1993. I can't find any confirmation emails, but I'm sure I paid by credit card.

Other domains were handled differently. Back in the early 90's, the .ca (Canada) domain was run by one guy based at the University of BC. To get a domain name, I sent him an email and asked for it. At the time, he enforced a consensus decision that .ca would be hierarchical: if you had a national company or organization, you could get a .ca If you were only in one province, say, BC, you could only get a name.

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In the early 90's domains were given away for free till a company that would become Network Solutions got the government contract to control the major TLDs.

Once they got control it cost $100 for 2 years. I think there was some giant lawsuit that lead it to be dropped to $70 for 2 years.

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To expand on Mike's answer, you would send a properly (and specifically) formatted email based on a template (unfortunately I don't have any email from that era but someone on here might have a copy of the template...) – voretaq7 Jan 21 '11 at 19:42
I remember a friend complaining about the sudden existence of a price for what was formerly free. – mfinni Jan 21 '11 at 20:08
I found the circa 1993 e-mail template:… – Pete Nelson Apr 28 '15 at 2:11

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