Commercialization of the Internet

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Commercialization of internet refers to managing or running online services principally for financial gain.

Early history (1988-1993)[edit]

The commercialization of the Internet began modestly with gateways between commercial services and the global Internet. Early examples include a relay between Compuserve and the NSFNET[1][2] in July 1989 at Ohio State University and a commercial Internet e-mail exchange in the UK in 1988.[3]

UUNET was the first company to sell commercial TCP/IP, first to government-approved corporations in November 1988[4] and then actively to the public starting in January 1990, albeit only to the NSFNET backbone with their approval.[4][5]

Barry Shein's The World STD was selling dial-up Internet on a legally questionable basis starting in late 1989 or early 1990,[6] and then on an approved basis by 1992. He claims to be[7] and is generally recognized[7] as the first to ever think of selling dial-up Internet access for money.

Internet becomes a true commercial medium (1994-present)[edit]

Although the Internet infrastructure was mostly privately owned by 1993, the lack of security in the protocols made doing business and obtaining capital for commercial projects on the Internet difficult[citation needed]. Additionally, the legality of Internet business was still somewhat grey, though increasingly tolerated, which prevented large amounts of investment money from entering the medium. This changed with the NSFNET selling its assets in 1995 and the December 1994 release of Netscape Navigator, whose HTTPS secure protocol permitted relatively safe transfer of credit and debit card information.

This along with the advent of user-friendly Web browsers and ISP portals such as America Online, along with the disbanding of the NSFNET in 1995 is what led to the corporate Internet and the dot com boom of the late 1990s.

The commercialization of the Internet is going so well due to four main reasons. First, the academic model could easily migrate into business operations without requiring additional providers. Second, it is feasible for entrepreneurs to learn and gain benefits without too many technical and operational challenges. Thirdly, customizing internet access is widespread through many different locations, circumstances, and users. Fourth, the Internet Access industry is still growing and provides a lot of opportunities for further research and practice.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. House of Representatives (1992-03-12). Management of NSFNET. Hearing before the Subcommittee on Science of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. ISBN 0-16-038772-8.
  2. ^ Markoff, John (1991-12-19). "Data Network Raises Monopoly Fear". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2015-05-25. Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  3. ^ Banks, Michael (24 October 2012). On the Way to the Web: The Secret History of the Internet and Its Founders. Apress. pp. 181–. ISBN 978-1-4302-5074-6.
  4. ^ a b "Interesting People: re: A Ridiculous Failure of Critical Infrastructure".
  5. ^ Kesan, Jay P.; Shah, Rajiv C. (2001-02-28). "Fool Us Once Shame on You - Fool Us Twice Shame on Us: What We Can Learn from the Privatizations of the Internet Backbone Network and the Domain Name System". Washington University Law Quarterly. 79: 129. SSRN 260834.
  6. ^ "Barry Shein Founded the First Dialup ISP (Video) - Slashdot".
  7. ^ a b The World. "about Barry Shein".
  8. ^ Greenstein, Shane (January 2000). "Commercialization of the Internet: The Interaction of Public Policy and Private Choices or Why Introducing the Market Worked so Well". Innovation Policy and the Economy. 1: 151–186. doi:10.1086/ipe.1.25056144. ISSN 1531-3468.