Although the Internet is inseparable from the daily life of many people, most are not aware of some interesting facts about its origin. The first spam message, for example, was sent in 1978 by a marketing manager who wanted to promote a new computer model. Few know that domain registration, a paid process today, was free in the early days of the web. In the following lines, TechTudo lists these and four other facts about the history of the Internet that will surprise you.
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1. Domain registration was free
A domain is the address of a website on the Internet. from TechTudo, for example, is techtudo.com.br. Since this is the main online identification of a company or personal brand, it is necessary to pay for domain registration, which costs R$ 40 on average. There are cases of rarer and more famous names costing millions or even being sold at auction.
What few people know is that this procedure began to be paid for only in 1995. Before that, anyone could register a domain completely free of charge. Until 1999, technology consulting firm Network Solutions was the first and only provider to provide—and charge for—registration services.
2. The first browser was called WorldWideWeb
Named “WorldWideWeb”, the first browser in history was created in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist. In the browser, users could read web pages and make small changes to the style in which they were displayed. The browser had a simple grayscale interface and could only display text. Its tabs contained options such as: navigation (movement), search (finding), editing (editing) and links.
WorldWideWeb: the first web browser was created in 1990 — Photo: Reproduction/W3.org
Despite being only compatible with the NeXTStep operating system, the browser was the gateway to the first web pages and hypertext content. Its limitations, however, prevented it from being widely adopted, and most people only remember Mosaic and Netscape as the first browsers. Later, WorldWideWeb was renamed Nexus, to avoid confusion with the Internet itself.
3. Amazon used to be called Cadabra
Founded in July 1994 by engineer and former CEO Jeff Bezos, Amazon was originally registered as Cadabra.Inc. The idea was to make a reference to the magic word “Abracadabra”. However, when Bezos’ first lawyer first read the name, he warned the businessman that the connection didn’t sound very clear. Also, some people have confused the name with the word “corpse”.
Initially, Amazon was registered as Cadabra.Inc — Photo: Reproduction/Caroline Silvestre
In addition, Bezos began looking for a new name for the store in the dictionary. During his research, he came across the name of the largest river in the world: “Amazon”, or Amazon, in Portuguese. Also, back then the websites were presented in alphabetical order. Therefore, choosing a name with the first letter of the alphabet was a strategic decision.
4. The first spam message was sent in 1978
The first spam was sent 44 years ago, in 1978. The mass message was started by Gary Thuerk, head of marketing at ARPANET, to promote a new computer model. About 400 potential customers received the message. Despite raising US$13 million (about R$69.7 million in direct conversion) in sales, the company also received many calls from people complaining about spam emails.
The first spam message was sent in 1978 — Photo: Getty Images
At that time, the word spam was not yet used. The term came into use only in 1993, when Richard Depew, a user of USENET, a means of communication on forums, accidentally posted about 200 duplicate messages in a newsgroup.
5. The first web camera was used to monitor the coffee pot
Computer scientists from the University of Cambridge are credited with creating the first webcam in history. The interesting thing here lies in the motivation behind the invention: to monitor the coffee pot that was located in the main computer lab. That’s because the researchers worked in labs on different floors, and often when they arrived at the room with the coffee machine, they were frustrated to find it empty.
The first web camera was created by researchers from the University of Cambridge to monitor coffee consumption in the laboratory — Photo: TechTudo
To solve the problem, they installed a camera that recorded images three times a minute, as well as software that allowed them to view the images on an internal computer network. That way they could check if the pot was full before going to get the coffee.
6. First item sold online
The first online sales were among American students who wanted to buy marijuana. At least that’s what British writer and journalist Jamie Bartlett says in his book “The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld.” Despite being arranged online, the sale was made in person.
The first product sold online was a CD — Photo: TechTudo
The first real online transaction occurred in 1994, when Daniel Kohn sold a CD copy of Sting’s album Ten Summoner’s Tales on the NetMarket website — created by himself and other graduates of Britain’s LSE University. The buyer was a man named Phil Brandenberger, a resident of Philadelphia. He received the product in the mail a few weeks later. This was the first time that payment was made online, by credit card.
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