IT journalists were today left frantically scrabbling for some way to describe the 25 year anniversary of the first registered dotcom address.
“Usually when something to do with the internet hits a significant birthday, the journos can describe it as if it was a person,” explained a source close to tired TechEye hack, Alexandra Pullin. “They’d say that it was old enough to vote, start primary school or have sex. There’d be some laughs, they’d all feel very clever and then go to the pub safe in the knowledge of a good job well done. But what can 25 year olds do? Nothing exciting or unusual, that’s what. The whole thing has got them in a right flap.”
The BBC newssite seems to have found a useful loophole where the birthday can be referred to as the silver anniversary. But for most people this will only serve to remind them of their own comparatively old age and in some cases, their onward trajectory into the grave.
In March 1985, Symbolics Computers of Cambridge, Massachusetts started this confusion with an internet address ending in dotcom. The millionth dotcom address was registered in 1997.
"This birthday is really significant because what we are celebrating here is the internet and dotcom is a good, well known placeholder for the rest of the internet," said Mark Mclaughlin, the chief executive officer of Verisign, which is the company responsible for looking after the dotcom domain.
“He would say that wouldn’t he,” Counters the source close to Pullin. “He doesn’t have to write about it engagingly… If the hacks don’t think of anything soon most articles will have to finish on a whole load of internet statistics and that'll just look like a real cop-out.”
"Dotcoms have touched us in a way we could not have imagined," Robert Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) told BBC News.
668,000 dotcom sites are registered every month. By 2020 the internet should add $3.8 trillion (£2.5trillion) to the global economy, overtaking the gross domestic product of Germany, according to a study by ITIF.