The Early Ages For Domains & Wacky Computer Advertising.

This article is from my experience when domains first became available for the first time registration and what I can remember from it.

Everything was run by bbs systems and sysops until the domain registrations were taken to the web level. In the early 1990’s, netsol ( took over the bbs domain registrations and made the registrations available via BBS or web based for anyone to buy.

I am in my early 30’s now, but I’ve been behind a computer since I was eight years old. I really didn’t know what I was doing when I was a kid. Since my dad is into taking stuff apart, I did too and fully disassembled computers & gadgets. When I got a little bit older, I was writing programs and saving them to tape recorders and playing a lot of games.

I spent a lot of time in the library as a kid. It was around 1988 when I discovered that domain names were available for registration. At that time, the main focus was on huge diskettes, huge systems & a network of BBS systems running across telephone land lines. Mostly bbs systems and public/private chatrooms.

One day I checked out a book from the library that had just arrived. It was full of BBS telephone numbers & the login details were provided. Using my 2400 baud modem, I dialed in to a lot of BBS networks. I spent time at nasa’s bbs, bbs chat rooms & military bbs networks. It was then that I stumbled upon a military bbs that allowed anyone to register any available .com domain name via the bbs system using sysop commands. The bbs commands included available or registered, whois, finger and other commands I don’t remember or i’m not 100% sure about anymore. Maybe dig type commands.

I ran a command and found that was available for hand registration. So was I ran to my parents to help me in buying these two domains! I had the money saved up & the price was only $199 each at that time. I could afford 4 domains total at that time. My parents brushed it off & said I was dreaming. In my head, I envisioned a dedicated computer running nasa’s BBS diagrams and commands via a domain name to make my searches available to users at my bbs network which could now become a full website. At the time, I was able to pull up general info in text files and simple diagrams / images in 8 & 16 bit. I was only ten years old.

Today, I’d like to compare brands of computers to domain names. While I was chasing certain domains via bbs systems which later in the early 90’s became controlled by network solutions’ bbs system. .com was meant to be used for commercial businesses. Once netsol took over, the domain speculation started to increase. By this time, I was using packard bell systems running 286’s up to 486’s for the cpu and paying up the nose for bigger hard drives and more ram. I had become a teenager & all the available domains were now taken or getting picked up fast.

Today, it’s all irrevelant.. ram and hard drives are cheap and cpu’s aren’t getting much more advanced. Mostly due to our economic status & we’ve met a middle ground with strive & the technology that is available for what we need.

In my computer journey, I fell that Tandy / Radio Shack wins a special award for their brand marketing as they did a research for website development companies to renew the campaign and this boosted the sales and started upgrading the brand. They pushed computers that I lugged around with portability in their TRS 80 computer system. They had the brand and a proprietary assembly language that was limited and sucked. And the darn computer was over 30 pounds weight to lug around.

Tandy TRS 80 Portable Computer

Tandy Radio Shack Portable Computer

In this image, you can notice a huge wave towards putting computers into your hands by Tandy’s handheld model:

Handheld Computer

Radio Shack’s Handheld Computer Advertisement


Tandy / Radio Shack won the branding throughout the 1980’s. Same for Apple which was the stronger of the two.

I had an Apple II Plus, IIe, IIc & IIgs back in the early 1980’s – 90’s, My first apple computer looked like this:

Apple II Plus Computer

The Apple II Plus

The lighted POWER button always seemed to give me comfort to know the system was on lol.

The TRS 80 & Appple II Plus – II gs all provided a means to connect to other websites. BBS sites are now compared to telnet sessions – which is what they really became. Everything became web based via a domain name.

I also had a lot of other systems like commodore computers, amiga and IBM PC XT 8086’s – 80X86’s.

I try to keep this in my mind as I chase expiring domains. When I drop catch certain domains, I can assemble a long list of potential buyers. If the list isn’t there, I don’t chase that domain. I feel like the days are here again and fresh regs and drop catching are becoming more and more liquid daily. My experience also helps me sift through the domains that seem to work for me & turning profits faster.

This post is not meant to be expert advice. I am just sharing stuff I remember and have been trying to find time to blog about. Hopefully I can continue to blog, I am trying to add a new post everyday as long as I’m not swammped.

Happy Domaining!

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  • Poor Uncle says:

    I remember those early days in the late 80’s as a high school student logging onto bbs with a 2400 and later 9600 baud modem downloading games and dreaming of the day I’d have my own bbs. I remember the day I wanted to have my own T1 line before I even had a cable modem…what was I thinking?

    I didn’t care much about computers…and I still don’t. It is ironic though…I became a programmer after college out of necessity since that was the only kind of work I can find that pay a decent salary.

    Having been a programmer since the dawn of the internet I felt an obligation to try to make a buck online…that’s why I started a deal website a few years back when work was slowing down.

    I told my wife today, if I was depending on my websites to make a living we’d be in big trouble because I only made about $1.00 today from all my websites.

    Though, I don’t know php, java, or any of the web based programming languages..but I’d imagine most of the money are made by entrepreneurs..not techies or programmers. It would be helpful if you are an entrepreneur who happen to be a techie, no doubt about it.

    So…I’d say for me, billable hours has and will always be the best way to make a buck. =) Sad, but true for me.

    When my son grow up and asked me why I wasn’t a billionaire since I was doing programming before/during/after the internet boom/bust/boom…I’d simply tell him that Dad was no entrepreneur.

  • jeff says:

    so what names did you get when you first started ? :P

  • admin says:

    I really didn’t grab a lot of the premium ones, the $199 per domain crushed it after & were taken. I did however grab in the 1990’s – early 2000’s. Unfortanetly I allowed to drop from a registrar: ( which allowed the domain to drop. has been squatted for many years & always renewed. At least my fault of allowing the domain to drop caused me to learn the insides & outs of expiring domain names.


  • admin says:

    Thanks for the inspirational comment. I think everyone is an entrepreneur, but it takes too long to figure it out. Tell your son to keep his nose up – his dad is an entrepreneur, You have commented on my blog posts before at an efficient level. You know what’s up, so no sense selling yourself short.

    It’s stories I read like Braden Pollock’s where he never touched a computer until he was in his 20’s. We should hold some kind of valuable experience about the roots because we were there first hand.

    Hope this inspires you & readers of my blog to just reach for your dreams and get work done!


  • Antonio says:

    We all have been there… I remember checking names in the 90s and all were available… but as well, to spend almost 200 USD each and a minimum of 4000 USD each for 20 years was like a huge investment then… I do remember checking ab com, jj com and da com but the fees for an spanish guy were too much and let´s remember people didnt give a f… about domain names… plus I was surfing entering the IP directly…

    Nice blog

  • admin says:

    I feel your pain & many domainers carry this burden upon their backs as they try to sell their domains. Good news was that a single solid sale always makes up for the costs of registrations and more. A good sale also keeps you motivated to keep flipping domains. If I could flip back time, I would invest more than I did. However, all we can do is work with what we have & move forward. My portfolio still holds good weight & I hope more sales in the future will make up for my registration fees & still profit well.


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