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


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?


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.

  • 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

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.

  • 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.


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.

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