Gary Kremen Former Owner Of Sex.com and Match.com & The 900th Person to Ever Use The Internet, Live From the .Nxt Meeting

Gary Kremen

Anyone who has been in the domain business for a while probably knows the story of Mr. Kremen fairly well.

Mr. Kremen is the former  owner of Sex.com and Match.com, the subject of at least one book and the original registrant of some of the best .com’s on earth.

Although I have know of Mr. Kremen for well over 10 years, this is the 1st time I have had a chance to hear him tell his story in person.

Actually I’m pretty sure he has never spoke at a domain conference before.

A self admitted investor, entrepreneur and “kook”, Mr. Kremen spoke at the .nxt conference in San Francisco today.

Some of the interesting points from his fireside chat today.

Gary used the Internet the 1st time in 1984.

Yes 1984.

Back in 1984 all extensions back then ended in .arpa

Gary was the 900th person to ever use the Internet.

“I know what number  I was because I had a program that counted everyone using proxy net and I was number 900″

Gary was the original registrant of:

jobs.com

auto.com

housing.com

auctions.com

properties.com

sex.com

Match.com

Just to name a few

Back win the 90′s when these were registered there was an “unwritten rule that you could only own 1 domain so I put one domain in several different companies name.”

I also put some of these domains in some friend’s to hold like aucitons.com and then never got them back which lead to the end of some friendships”

He registered the domain Match.com in 1994 because he was “trying to get a date” and sold the company in 1998.  Match.com was growing at the rate of 3% a day at one time.

Gary invented the idea of “dynamic web pages” which would change  web pages based on several factors like cookies.

Gary obtained a patent in connection with match.com for dynamic web pages and sold the patent for $2.5 million.

Mr Kremen was the original registrant of sex.com and registered the domain on May 9, 1994.

He spend a few million dollars to get sex.com back.

The person who took the domain was making as much as $1M a month on the domain name sex.com

Gary’s legal actions resulted in a confidential settlement with Verisign and a judgment against Cohen in the amount of $65 Million.

Kremen got’s Cohen’s former house as partial satisfaction of the judgment.

Before the Sex.com case domains were not considered as property under the law, just a contractual right between the registry and the domain holder but the result of the Sex.com case domain names are recognized property.

Finally regarding the new gTLD’s, Mr Kremen reminded everyone that in the Gold Rush the people that made the money were the one’s selling the shovels.

So Gary recommends that the best way to be involved in the new gTLD launch is to sell products or  service new TLD registries.

It was a great chat and a lot of information in a 30 minutes session that flew by

Comments

  1. says

    Oh, my lord!

    Great epochs always have beginnings – and, with the benefit of hindsight – to have been there in 1980-something, or, 1990-something – at the very beginning – and to have owned names like that….(we all sigh!)

    …It must be kind of surreal for Mr Kremen to look back now, and know what he has owned.

    What, per chance, does he own today?…Does he still have some wonderful domains?

  2. says

    Today, no one has the chance to come up with domain name, “sex” or “fund” but … you must be of good cheer. Someone needs to invent a new domain, even if at the beginning no one would want.
    I do this from one year. I do not know how it ends, but for the last three months I have received bids for 12 domain names such as “6 star”. Do not sell them and I do not know if it was a good decision? …. I’m waiting for a better price and I will continue to write new domain.

    Martha

  3. says

    The article started out great by discussing Kremen’s history, but somehow morphed into an ad for the new gTLD’s.

    Many domainer newbies don’t realize that there are currently 21 generic domains including .COM, .ORG and .NET. Can we talk about the others for a moment?

    Let’s start with .TRAVEL? Ever see it used? Nah, me either. What about .MUSEUM, .AERO, .BIZ, .COOP or .JOBS? Nope, me either with one exception. I once saw a sign in a Wendy’s that directed job applicants to go to Wendys.Jobs — I thought that was kinda cool so I went to the site to lean that it simply redirects to Wendys.Com/jobs. Whoo Hoo. Big hairy deal. Why bother?

    Here’s the problem. The REASON that the failures mentioned above were all introduced initially is because ICANN was convinced at the time that those TLDs each represented segments of the population in need of online representation. Same with .MOBI. All major-fails.

    I respectfully submit that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. $185K + $25K annually is a lot of money to pay to learn that lesson.

  4. Gazzip says

    “Mr Kremen was the original registrant of sex.com and registered the domain on May 9, 1994.”

    Interesting info MHB, looking back now its hard to beleive that it took about 9 years before someone registered sex.com — eeeek ;)

    Is there any way to find out how old a domain is if its been dropped other than archive.org ? (records only goes back to Dec 1996)

    Would the registrars still keep a record and if so would it have been Network Solutions or were there more registrars prior to 96 ?

    “Before the Sex.com case domains were not considered as property under the law, just a contractual right between the registry and the domain holder but the result of the Sex.com case domain names are recognized property.”

    Thanks Gary, you did us all a great favour – cheers !

  5. says

    Hello Mike,

    So many of your posts are fine examples of educating domainers on how to go forward and I commend you and others in our Industry on your efforts. An educated Domainer is an empowered domainer who can make better judgments on how to go forward and reap the benefits. Thank You Mike !

    We especially liked your analogy which bears repeating, =

    ” Finally regarding the new gTLD’s, Mr Kremen reminded everyone that in the Gold Rush the people that made the money were the one’s selling the shovels.”

    You and Monte are great examples of ones who are seizing the opportunity of taking advantage of this classic statement. We know you will have continued success with your business model.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  6. says

    Gazzip said:

    “Interesting info MHB, looking back now its hard to beleive that it took about 9 years before someone registered sex.com — eeeek”

    As far as I know, the public couldn’t register .com domain names until 1994. The registration of domain names before that was restricted and controlled by the U.S. Department of Defense or the National Science Foundation. As Wikipedia notes:

    “Although com domains were originally intended to designate commercial entities (others such as government agencies or educational institutions have different top-level domains assigned to them), there has been no restriction on who can register com domains since the mid-1990s.”

    So before 1994 there really wasn’t a domain name business. Maybe you could get a .com domain name if you were a defense contractor. But that changed when DOD handed the .com operation over to the NSF. Initially, for a brief time, it was free to register any .com domain name. Then in 1995 the NSF hired Network Solutions to manage the program, it cost $50 per year per domain, $100 up front for the first 2 years.

    I was there. My buddy and I could kick ourselves for what we didn’t see: at the time, some slimy lawyer-types were registering domain names for squatting purposes, like raiders.com or ford.com – we realized that was unethical, and ultimately was illegal. What we didn’t realize was the potential of generics. Like beer.com or wine.com or loans.com or sex.com, each of which sold for millions eventually. So like good little techos with the Imperial Conditioning Mark, we registered .com domain names for our businesses.

    Also, as noted, domain names were more expensive and possibly limited to 1 per person. And there was no infrastructure for supporting web or internet access. Internet access in those days required you own servers with network access, which usually cost tens of thousands of dollars, if not millions. So network access with servers was pretty much limited to big companies, colleges, and government. I had to rent a uucp service ($90/month) back in 1995 just to host my first domain name – that’s kind of like hiring a team of oxen to drag a pickup truck with no engine. It can be a great pickup truck, but without an engine it’s not going to go very far. Several years later, infrastructure eventually arose to support all levels of domain activity, but it took awhile. Originally many of the first web pages were hosted on ftp sites because there were no www or http servers. But enough ancient history.

    Mr. Kremen (self-decribed kook) along with others like him should be applauded for their vision and foresight in getting those first generic .com names. I was there, as were so many others. I didn’t see it. (*kicking self*) lolz

  7. MHB says

    Domainer 2:

    “The article started out great by discussing Kremen’s history, but somehow morphed into an ad for the new gTLD’s.”

    No it was from start to finish an true account of what Mr. Kremen had to say.

    As you would expect the guy started with this story as bob parsons did and also as you would expect since he did speak at a conference about new gTLD’s at the end he was asked what he thought of them (as Bob Parsons was asked at the end of his talk at DomainFest).

    His response was included in sequential order as he was asked the question and he did respond.

  8. MHB says

    Gazzip/Thompson

    As the article stated .com’s were not available back in 1984, from above:

    “Back in 1984 all extensions back then ended in .arpa”

    So the .com extension did NOT exist in 1984.

    Last year VeriSign celebrated the 25th anniversary of the 1st .com registration

    You do the math but as a reminder a fellow domainer bought that 1st domain prior to the anniversary celebration and it wasn’t sex.com

  9. says

    Gazzip also asked about old archives of domain names. Here’s one from that era dated 22-Feb-1994:

    ftp://ftp.univie.ac.at/netinfo/netinfo/domain-info.txt

    I know about this list because my first domain name, sentesys.com, appears on it. As I noted before, registering a domain name in those days cost nothing – for a brief shiny moment anyway. Then the price went up to $50 a year, first 2 years payment up front. That was a bit pricey, especially for those of us who couldn’t do much with them at that point (see previous post about lack of internet and www infrastructure for us common folk).

    Note that on this Feb. 1994 list there is no sex.com or loan.com or loans.com or wine.com or town.com or la.com or ny.com or any number of other great domain names most of us in the biz would give our left treasured body part for.

    Btw, also note that if you look up sentesys.com, you’ll see it was created in 2004, not 1994 – that’s because for a brief moment I lost my mind and let several domain names laspse… not that they were worth a lot, I figured I could save some cash and always pick them up later. As a result, someone picked up the .com for my main corporation name – why, I’ll never know. I immediately renewed all the domain names I had let lapse, including sentesys.com – eventually whoever got my corporate name let it go and I picked it up again. But it taught me a lesson, don’t let a domain name go unless you’re willing to part with it forever lolz

    Boat drinks everyone

  10. says

    As MHB pointed out, the .com tld didn’t exist yet in 1984. But I’m to lazy to do the math, so I looked it up on Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_oldest_currently-registered_Internet_domain_names

    If you check the .com registrants listed there, I’m sure you’ll find almost all of them are or were involved in the “boots and spooks” business – selling to the military and/or the intelligence services.

    The first .com domain name went to the defunct Symbolics Inc., a computer company which made Lisp machines. Their domain name, symbolics.com, was registered on 15-March-1985.

    Boat drinks

  11. Gazzip says

    whoisd.com/oldestcom.php – There’s also another one on that list that Brad owns, DataCube

    The reason I was asking about earlier archives is i own a (******)sex.com one that shows records in archive.org that it was “developed” back in 29/Dec/96 but its lost its age since it was dropped recently….she’s a born again virgin ;)

    If Sex.com only shows archives back to December 19 1996 then I assume archive.org was started sometime in 1996.

    While my domain is a WORLD APART from sex.com in value & traffic it must have been registered prior to Dec 1996 but more than likely after Sex.com on May 9, 1994 .

    I’m just curious to see if I can find the exact first reg date somehow, I’ll maybe try calling NetSol to see if they have anything on record.

    @ P.Thompson

    “Note that on this Feb. 1994 list there is no sex.com or loan.com or loans.com or wine.com or town.com or la.com or ny.com or any number of other great domain names most of us in the biz would give our left treasured body part for.”

    Thanks, all interesting stuff, I’v never seen that list before.

    “Mr. Kremen (self-decribed kook) along with others like him should be applauded for their vision and foresight in getting those first generic .com names.”

    I was there, as were so many others. I didn’t see it. (*kicking self*) lolz”

    For sure, vision and patience, a friend of mine has been involved in computers right since they were available for home use, he missed out big time too.

    I was’nt interested at all in computers until about 2000, I still missed the boat ;)

  12. Landon White says

    I also put some of these domains in some friend’s to hold like auctions.com and then never got them back which lead to the end of some friendships”
    ===

    Try never to forget that “EVERYBODY” secretly wants your Domains,
    you cant trust no one, no one!

  13. Logan says

    I was a heavy Internet user back in college at SMU from 1988 to 1993. Used email, gopher, telnet, and ftp to get around, view documents, chat with people, etc. After college, I got busy in my first job (management consulting) and used CompuServe to get “the Internet” (even dialing up on the CompuServe number in The Philippines all the way from Singapore where I was consulting at the time ’cause the Singapore number wouldn’t work — HUGE bill!), but CompuServe was a walled garden for much of the time. Later in 1996 or so, it opened up with a Netscape browser and you could move about the rudimentary World Wide Web. AOL stayed a walled garden for much, much longer. All that use of the Internet and I still only bought my first domain name from Network Solutions in 1997 or 1998. It was a just a domain name for my little Web consulting company. Rode the dot com boom and bust with just that one domain name. Years passed on by and I didn’t find domain names of real value until about 2007 or so — even though I worked in Internet / Web consulting the whole time! It just goes to show you how visionary guys like Frank Schilling and Gary K. were way back then, buying up these domain names. The fact that they kept on renewing them all year after year after year throughout the decades just amazes. That’s very firm belief and financial commitment they’ve got right there!

  14. says

    Amazing how incredible their vision was to basically gamble on these names and more importantly the technology. With technology expanding so rapidly now it will be interesting what comes in just 10 more years…

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