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Ivan Pope was involved with many early internet developments in the UK and across the world. He started networking in 1988 while a contemporary of Damien Hirst and the YBAs at art college in London. After graduation he went on to develop an early bulletin board systems for artists (ArtNet Bulletin Board and mailing list). Pope invented the 'cybercafe' at London's ICA. He was a founder of two of the first internet magazines, The World Wide Web Newsletter, and later .net magazine in the UK. In 1994 he founded Webmedia to professionalise the process of web site design and build. In 1996 he invented the domain name industry, since there were no specialist domain name companies before NetNames.
After graduating from Goldsmiths' Fine Art BA in 1990, Pope worked as an artist with Loophole Cinema for five years.
World Wide Web Newsletter
The World Wide Web Newsletter (later 3W magazine) was conceived and assembled while Pope worked at Goldsmiths' College Computer Centre early in 1993. Keen to evangelise the Internet, the magazine was conceived as a general internet information source. The name was taken from the then nascent World Wide Web project of Tim Berners-Lee. The first issue was published in fall 1993. As reported in that issue, there were at the time under 100 web servers in the world. 3W is one of the earliest web publications, and unique in its general approach to the internet and global communications. 3W opened up many opportunities and Pope left Goldsmiths' to concentrate on web development work. Pope attended the first London Internet World exhibition in 1994 as an exhibitor with 3W magazine. He was hired by Time Out magazine in London to consult on their early web development.
Invention of the Cybercafe
He was asked to curate an internet component for an arts symposium held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Inspired by reports of a cafe with bulletin board access in the US, he created a one weekend cybercafe in the ICA theatre, placing internet access Apple Macs on the cafe style tables and creating the first internet cafe as well as coining the word 'cybercafe'.
Webmedia, the birth of web development
Following the launch of .net in 1994, Steve Bowbrick and Ivan Pope founded Webmedia - an early web development company. The aim of Webmedia was to professionalise the design and build of web sites, a process that did not exist at that time. Webmedia grew fast over the next two years, gaining early web accounts from the likes of Lloyds Bank and Lufthansa.
NetNames and the domain name wars
While managing this fast growing company and working with the nascent web industry, Pope stumbled across domain name registration and founded NetNames to handle global name registrations for companies and individuals. At the time there were no specialist domain name companies and NetNames quickly gained a reputation for specialist knowledge in what became an explosive space. In 1997 Pope separated NetNames from Webmedia and concentrated on growing the company alongside working with industry bodies such as CORE. In 2000 Pope sold NetNames to Netbenefit NBT, then a LSE listed UK company. He joined the board of Netbenefit and was briefly chair, before leaving in 2001 to concentrate on his family.
By the end of the nineties Pope had been instrumental in the formation of a UK namespace organisation, Nominet, a non-profit that still manages the .uk namespace. Elected to the board for the formative years of the company, he concentrated on building an efficient and independent organisation.
Pope was the founder of a widget management company, Snipperoo, founded in 2006. He was a blogger and authority on the subject of web widgets. He has spoken at WidgetsLive! and Widgetcon. On 6 December 2007 he created Europe's first conference in digital Brighton dedicated to web widgets. He currently blogs at http://blog.ivanpope.com
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