Over 20 years later, this article remains to be the one of the most important pieces of history for the domain name industry. It shows early brand perspective, early trademark concerns, how only a few people (2.5 to be exact) were responsible for issuing domain names and more. If only we had a time machine.

Originally published in Wired Magazine on October 1st, 1994. Used with permission.

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Billions Registered

by Joshua Quittner

Right now, there are no rules to keep you from owning a bitchin’ corporate name as your own Internet address.

I’m waiting for a call back from McDonald’s, the hamburger people. They’re trying to find me someone – anyone – within corporate headquarters who knows what the Internet is and can tell me why there are no Golden Arches on the information highway.

It’s true: there is no mcdonalds.com on the Internet. No burgerking.com either.

Yet.

“Are you finding that the Internet is a big thing?” asked Jane Hulbert, a helpful McDonald’s media-relations person, with whom I spoke a short while ago.

Yes, I told her. In some quarters, the Internet is a very big thing.

I explained a little bit about what the Big Thing is, and how it works, and about the Net Name Gold Rush that’s going on. I told her how important domain names are on the Internet (“Kind of like a phone number. It’s where you get your e-mail. It’s part of your address.”), and I explained that savvy business folks are racing out and registering any domain name they can think of: their own company names, obviously, and generic