The internet is an important part of daily life in 2024, though its roots go back to the 1960s. Bob Dylan is an American singer who started playing folk music in the early 1960s and is still making music in the 2020s. Are these ideas connected?  Normally no, but in this reflection on Markmonitor’s place in the domain industry after 25 years, absolutely!

Though its roots are in the 1960s with the origin of computer networking, the idea of what became known as the Internet didn’t really congeal until a bit later – the first domain name was registered in 1985 and the ‘World Wide Web’ software was shared with the world in 1993. In 1998 the entity ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) was founded “out of a U.S. Government commitment to transfer the policy and technical management of the DNS to a non-profit corporation based in the U.S. with global participation.” Perhaps it was coincidence, or destiny, that a company called Markmonitor was born a year later in 1999 and got into the corporate registrar space.

25 years later it is interesting to try and look back and piece together some of the larger events and trends that happened during that time; as I have been a part of Markmonitor for 20 of those years I’ll do my best to connect the dots. For another’s thoughts on the history of Markmonitor, see the recent interview with Stu Homan.

In 2004, the ‘modern’ internet was still finding its footing; many companies still had the ‘e’ (for ‘electronic’) or ‘i’ (for ‘internet) prefix attached to their product or brand names. The domain industry was getting its sea legs as the launch of the ccTLD .eu in 2005 was groundbreaking at the time – leading to new takes on how a TLD launch could be done. The iPhone launched in 2007 and didn’t necessarily have immediate effects on domain names per se, though smartphone ‘apps’ were suddenly the hot new thing and drew lots of attention in the next few years, changing people’s way of interacting with the internet. 2012 found ICANN launching its New gTLD Program, which ended up expanding the Domain Name System by 1000+ Top-Level Domains over the next decade. In 2017, the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) was launched, bringing .ETH to the Blockchain and birthing a new ‘Web3’ concept in domains. These are just a few of the events that happened in the last two decades and it’s clear that many new and exciting changes will come forth in the next two decades.

Even though topics of the day change in the domain industry from TLDs to policy changes to new products, services and everything in between, the one thing that hasn’t changed in the last 25 years at Markmonitor is its people. From the founders to the executives to the frontline staff and the behind-the-scenes ‘glue’ folks (new and old, come and gone), Markmonitor has found people who have a drive to deliver excellent service to our customers. Whether this has meant finding new technological solutions, leveraging our relationships with partners and players across the industry, or just putting in the hours to get things done, the commitment of our people has made Markmonitor a challenging and gratifying place to work. It also is reflected in the quality and breadth of our customer base, whose expectations we have exceeded over and over again. So, as we reach this quarter of a century of service, I offer a hearty thanks to the colleagues, partners, customers, and others who have helped us get to this point.

And with that said, I need to loop back to Bob Dylan. Does Bob Dylan like domains? I don’t know, but all his song lyrics are all posted at What I do know is that Bob Dylan was a folk/blues/rock music icon who wrote many influential songs over the past six decades and counting. In closing out my thoughts on the last 25 years I leave you with my domain industry- and Markmonitor-inspired parody of one of his most well-known songs, “The Times They Are A-Changin‘” (for a listen to the original, go here):

Come gather ’round brand holders

Wherever you call home

And admit that the problems

Of brand protection have grown

And accept that soon

Budgets may be cut to the bone

Though your brand to you is worth savin’

And you better start planning

before your fate is in stone

For the domains they are a-changin’

Come franchises and units

Who strategize the next gen

Keep those tactics tight

This launch won’t come again

And don’t delete too soon

For the campaign’s still a’ firin’

And there’s no tellin’ an owner

WHOIS might not be namin’

File the UDRP now

And look later to win

For the domains they are a-changin’


From NTIA;

From GDPR to

NIS2 is all

For they that gets lost

If the policy is stalled

The stakeholders inside arrangin’

We’ll soon let you know

Just what’s going on

For the domains they are a-changin’

The flippers and tasters

Throughout the web

Kiting and parking

Monetize to the end

The hijackers and the squatters

Just beyond jurisdiction

An old strategy is rapidly agin’

Please come get a new one

Markmonitor’ll give you a hand

For the domains they are a-changin’

25 years down

It all went so fast

The DNS is now

Will Web3 be last?

As the Internet now

Is so incredibly vast

Our clients we are still aidin’

Markmonitor is the now

We won’t be outlast’d

For the domains they are a-changin’

And that’s what it all comes down to for me: domain names, managing change, great people, exceptional service, and fun. It’s what keeps me coming back and I think it’s why our customers keep coming back to Markmonitor. Excellence in action, supported by people who care and work hard. And here’s to another 25 years of that!