18 Interesting Firsts on the Internet

There are more than 18.5 million Internet users in Pakistan among them 1.7 million are broadband users (as of June 2009). Internet has become a necessity of our lives especially for student and working class. But most of the Internet users do not know the history of Internet or many Internet services they use daily.

The purpose of this article is to increase your knowledge about what were the first different things happened in Internet World.  Below are the 18 “firsts” of the Internet. This is quite an interesting study.

1. The First Email

In 1971, Ray Tomlinson sent first email and also made use of @ symbol in email addresses. Same systems were available even before (early 60s) but they were only used it to exchange messages on mainframe computer. The current shape of email emerged in 1970s. It is to be noted that Internet didn’t even exist at that time but its ancestor, ARPANET did.

2. The First Ever Domain Name

Computer manufacturer Symbolics (now obsolete) on 15th March 1985 registered the first ever domain name that was “symbolics.com”.

Enea.se and luth.se were registered in 1983 and 1984 respectively but using old domain system. Symoblics.com was registered using the current/new domain system.

3. The First SPAM Email Ever

Gary Thuerk is considered the first email spammer who sent spam email messages to 393 people on ARPANET on 3rd May 1978. Gary Thuerk advertised a new model of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) computers in that spam email.

4. The First Ever Mobile Phone with Internet Access Facility

Nokia 9000 Communicator (launched in 1996, Finland) is the first ever mobile phone with Internet Access. However, NTT DoCOMo i-Mode (1999) in Japan is considered the pioneer of Cell Phone Internet Services.

Nokia 9000 Communicator

5. The First Ever Website

Info.cern.ch which was launched in late 1990 is the first even website which ran on a NeXT computer at CERN. http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html was the first ever webpage which contained information about the World Wide Web Project. This page is no longer accessible.

6. The First Ever E-Commerce Website and Transaction

The first e-commerce site was neither the giant eBay nor Amazon. NetMarket (Online Retailer) claim to process first ever secure transaction on the web on August 11, 1994 when they sold a copy of Sting CD Ten Summoner’s Tales for $12.48 + shipping.

7. The First Ever Online Bank

Stanford Federal Credit Union is considered the first financial institution that provided Online Internet Banking services to all of its customers in October, 1994.

8. The First Ever Search Engine

It’s neither Google nor Yahoo. WebCrawler.com was the first Search Engine which was launched in 1994. Unlike the previous Search Engines, WebCrawler was first full-text web SE.


9. The First Ever Blog

Justin Hall is considered the first blogger who started a web diary in 1994. The term webblog was introduced in 1997 which later led to “blog” in 1999.

10. The First Ever Podcast

Dave Winer added functionality to add references to audio content inside the RSS feeds, which made syndication of audioblogging possible. Winer on January 11, 2001 demonstrated this new RSS functionality by putting a Grateful Dead song in his Scripting News blog.

11. The First Item Ever Sold on eBay

A broken laser pointer worth $14.83 was first ever sale on eBay, previously callsed AuctionWeb in 1995. The buyer was a collector of broken laser pointers.

12. The First Book Ever Sold on Amazon

The first book sold on Amazon.com (1995) was Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought by Douglas Hofstadter.

13. The first edit on Wikipedia

Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder was the first one to edit on Wikipedia. It was a test edit with text “Hello, World!”

14. The First Ever Video on YouTube

The first video on YouTube was put by the the cofounder of YouTube Jawed Karim on April 23, 2005. The title of the video is “Me at the Zoo” and can still be found on YouTube with over 1.5 million views.

15. The First Ever Message on Twitter

Again, the first recorded message on twitter was by the Think Tank of Twitter, Jack Dorsey on 21st March 2006. It was a demonstration message with text “just setting up my twttr”. Twttr was not a typo; initially twitter was referred as “twttr”.


16. The First Ever Voice Chat Service

Rocket Messenger and AOL are considered the pioneers of Voice Chat service. Later followed by Paltalk which experience a phenomenal success. Yahoo became the mostly used voice chat service later on as it provided many unique features to the users i.e. individual voice chat, conference calling, chat room, etc..

17. The First Ever Website Hacked

In 1990, Hackers broke into and spoiled federal websites that included US Department of Justic, U.S. Air Force, CIA, NASA and some others.

18. The First Ever Social Network Site

Friendster.com is the first Social Network website of modern days which was launched in 2002. MySpace was introduced by two friends a year later and it was a tremendous and quick hit.

Edit: Friends Reunited ( http://www.friendsreunited.com ) launched in July 2000 was first ever Social Networking Site. Thank you Alec East for the contribution and correction.

There must be a lot of other things, I have missed but you are welcome to make any additions you want. If you find some information incorrect, just let me know. Thank you

NOTE: Please read comments to find the corrections.

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26 Responses to "18 Interesting Firsts on the Internet"

  1. Faiq says:

    Quite interesting study. Thanks a lot. Enjoyed reading it.

  2. Well this is quite interesting and I’m pretty much happy with the effort you made in posting everything in a single article. I didn’t know many of these firsts myself and it is good to learn something new.

  3. Alec East says:

    I really enjoyed this and learned a few things too but, surely, Friends Reunited ( http://www.friendsreunited.com ) which originally launched in July 2000 predates friendster.com by quite a few years.

    Of course, it doesn’t exactly mirror today’s social networks but it did have many recognizable features.

  4. Can says:

    What about the first “first post”?

  5. @Can – It was Justin Hall (according to my research). Point no. 9 🙂

  6. Originally Posted By Alec East
    I really enjoyed this and learned a few things too but, surely, Friends Reunited ( http://www.friendsreunited.com ) which originally launched in July 2000 predates friendster.com by quite a few years.

    Of course, it doesn’t exactly mirror today’s social networks but it did have many recognizable features.

    Rectified the error. Thank you for the correction.

  7. Kevin Marks says:

    danah boyd and Nicole Ellison’s paper on the history of social network sites http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html puts sixdegrees.com first in 1997, with LiveJournal in 1999 preceding friendsreunited.com

  8. zacharyt says:

    have you read this by dave winer talking abt this post: http://www.scripting.com/stories/2010/03/09/18InterestingFirsts.html

  9. Mark Rhodes says:

    Actually, the first podcast was done by Adam Curry.

  10. Ed says:

    Stanford Federal Credit Union wasn’t the first to have online banking service. There were many Finnish banks in the 80’s that offered online banking. It was before www, but it shouldn’t make a difference, since you’ve got ARPANET here too.

    Here’s a page (in Finnish only, sorry) explaning how to create a connection to online banks with your modem (notice that it’s dated 1993): http://www.tietotila.com/jutut/KM-93-11.HTM

  11. Jesse says:

    @Ed – That’s true. Here is a translation of Google Translator:

  12. Some corrections:

    The first hacked website could not have been in 1990 as the web didn’t exist until 1992.

    And the first social network was actually sixdegrees.com, started in 1997 (see wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sixdegrees.com )

    Otherwise, great list.

  13. KJ says:

    The first ever “online bank”, which was actually a bank terminal service was the TeleSYP in 1979. This was only to corporate customers, but the Solo online banking service to consumer customers was introduced on 1982.

    And these were both in Finland, where nowadays 100% of companies and over 85% of consumers do their daily banking with online banking services. You actually have to pay ~5-6 euros “service fee” to pay a bill on the counter in banks…

    Source: Helsinki School of Economy, Avista magazine 2/2007
    http://www.hse.fi/NR/rdonlyres/B942DD9E-793A-40D1-A629-AFF1C6B06D25/0/Avista2_2007.pdf (in finnish)

  14. Mantse says:

    Interesting analysis. We hope to see more of these in different fields.

  15. jacobian says:

    very interesting facts.I like the one about nokia communicator anyway. 🙂

  16. Originally Posted By zacharyt
    have you read this by dave winer talking abt this post: http://www.scripting.com/stories/2010/03/09/18InterestingFirsts.html

    I am honored that he linked to my article and found time to write about it.

    I would also like to thank you all to provide accurate information regarding different things.

  17. Cybersavvy says:

    As I recall, it was Ben Hammersley (Guardian journalist, semantic web etc) who first coined the term ‘podcast’ (point 10) and Adam Curry who first made and broadcast one.

    Sixdegrees was definitely long before Friends Reunited – I was on it and it seemed awesome at the time!

    The first chat client I recall using was ICQ.

  18. luv2rite says:

    great piece. very well researched and written A+!

  19. First use of emoticon: September 19, 1982 Scott Fahlman.
    First Lifecaster: Jenni Ringley (JenniCam)

  20. divaonline says:

    Wildly interesting! Thanks for the information.

  21. stylo says:

    Really interesting things!

  22. Nice post indeed, really informative. Now it seems that paksitani bloggers are coming up with really informative blogs.

  23. Kiprono Chirchir says:

    Check. Learn something new everyday

  24. Umair says:

    well, look at the Nokia’s phone,

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