Domain Name Trivia - The Net Extension

The net domain name extension has been with us pretty much forever. Well, in terms of the World Wide Web's existence it has been anyway.

Actually, net domains precede the World Wide Web. The extension was established in 1985 and it wasn't until 1991 when Tim Berners- Lee announced the debut of the Web as a publicly accessible service on the Internet.

Net is one of the original top level domains (TLDs); along with com, edu, gov, mil, and org.

While the first domain name to be registered was one ending in com, the first to be created was a net name in January 1985 - Nordu.net; which was used to be the identifier of the first root server, nic.nordu.net.

Nordu.net is a data communications network interconnecting the national research and education networks of the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden; and is still in operation today.

The original intention for net was use by network providers only, but these days registration of a net domain name has no restrictions - anyone anywhere in the world can register a net name as easily as registering a com.

According to the registry operator, Verisign, which assumed oversight of the extension after acquiring Network Solutions in 2005, net is often used in backbone operations of the Internet and is directly or indirectly involved with at least 30 percent of all Internet activity.

After com and de (the country code Top Level Domain - ccTLD - for Germany), net is the most popular TLD in the world.

These days, a net name is popular with technology companies, or as an alternative to com if that version has already been registered.

However, registering a.net in those circumstances can sometimes be counterproductive. With.com having such high levels of awareness, type-in traffic can be lost to the com domain.

When it comes to domain name resale, a net name will usually fetch far less than its com counterpart; so net names are often avoided by those in the domain resale market, unless they are single generic word names or common terms as those can still command very attractive prices.

Still, even with these few drawbacks, a net name has a number of advantages, including the fact the extension is recognised globally and is generally trusted by consumers.

Some businesses also register the net version of their com domain as a defensive measure against cybersquatting.

As of November 2011, it was estimated over 14 million domain names ending in net were currently registered.
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