The internet is just a twinkle in its daddy's eye. The Advanced Research
Projects Agency (ARPA) is formed by the United States Defense Department
in reaction to the Russian launch of the Sputnik satellite. ARPA's brief
is to research and develop technologies that could significantly improve
military missions and operations.
Dr J C R Licklider is at the forefront of the initiative and is the
first to have the brainwave of interactive computing and networked
In 1962, Licklider co-publishes On-Line Man Computer Communication in
which he expands on his theory of a Galactic Network. His vision
precipitates the formation of ARPANET (the early internet) and this
eventually mutates into the internet that we know and love today.
The first e-mail is sent by a Ray Tomlinson. Tomlinson was a computer
engineer who worked for Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN), the company hired
by the United States Defense Department in 1968 to build ARPANET.
It's Tomlinson we can thank for picking the @ sign as the locator sign
in e-mail addresses.
Meanwhile, Larry Roberts of MIT, who was responsible for penning one of
the first plans for ARPANET, Towards a Co-operative Network of
Time-Share Computers, writes the first e-mail management programme for
Across the English Channel, Louis Pouzin heads up a French effort to
build its own version of ARPANET called CYCLADES.
Prince Charles and Tony Blair might have discovered the internet only
recently, but the nation's high and mighty were right on top of things
as early as 1976. Queen Elizabeth II sends out an e-mail on 26 March
from the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE) in Malvern.
This follows the development of the first ever e-mail list by ARPANET in
1975. MSGroup is created by Steve Walker. A science fiction list under
the name SF-Lovers is the first unofficial list. MSG, the first e-mail
programme which allows users to reply, forward and file, is developed by
John Vittal and launches in the same year.
MCI Mail and Compuserve provide the first commercial electronic mail
connection to the internet through the Corporation for the National
Research Initiative (CNRI) and Ohio State University respectively.
In the meantime, visionary Tim Berners-Lee is banging out a computer
programme on a Macintosh that focuses on the principal of non-sequential
writing - linking one document to another totally different one. The
World Wide Web is born.
In Europe, The Resaux IP Europeens is launched by European service
providers to make sure the pan-European IP network is properly
Meanwhile, the number of hosts exceeds 100,000 for the first time.
It was a year of internet firsts:
- the first banner ads appear on hotwired.com, the online version of
Wired magazine, in October. They were for Zima (a drink) and AT&T.
- shopping malls appear for the first time on the internet.
- RT-FM, the internet's first cyberstation, broadcasts from Las
- the first cyberbank opens its virtual doors
- the first online pizza delivery service is in place, courtesy of Pizza
Meanwhile, the top ten domains in this year are: .com; .edu; .uk; .gov;
.de; .ca; .mil; .au; .org; and .net.
In the US, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) is launched.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the Audit Bureau of Circulations establishes
The division's objective is to aid the process of planning and buying
online advertising campaigns, and its formation is a reaction to demand
within the industry for an established set of auditing standards.
Search engines, Java technology and internet phones come on to the
Internet phones cause quite a stir among US telecoms, which appeal to US
Congress to ban the technology.
The domain name tv.net is sold to CNET for $15,000.
In September, Yahoo! UK & Ireland launches as possibly the first
commercial, consumer internet portal. It launches its first banner
advertising campaign, for Tesco, in October. BSkyB, BTinternet and
LloydsTSB follow close behind.
The IAB is formed in the UK based on the US model, to spearhead
campaigns for the establishment of online advertising and auditing
standards within the UK internet industry.
ABC//electronic publishes its first official audit figures for
The domain name business.com is sold for $150,000.
In July, Yahoo! UK & Ireland makes the first online content deal in
Europe with the Press Association.
PricewaterhouseCoopers' first official internet advertising revenue
figures for the UK, which it calculated on behalf of the UK IAB, show
that UK online ad revenue reached £19.4 million during 1998.
In May, Yahoo! UK & Ireland signs its first online sponsorship deal,
with Hewlett Packard sponsoring its coverage of the football World
In November, the portal launches the first 'pay-as-you-go' internet
access package, Yahoo! Online, with BT.
Internet advertising revenue figures by PricewaterhouseCoopers show that
during 1999, online ad revenue increased by 163 per cent to £51
In March 1999, Yahoo! UK & Ireland launches a co-branded ISP deal with
HMV and Waterstones, as well as its first PC distribution deal with
British Airways becomes the first UK advertiser to use new online
advertising technology created by Unicast to launch a superstitial
advertising campaign showing critics that online ads could be sexy. The
new technology allows brands to use rich media executions coupled with a
polite-loading system that doesn't slow down a user's browsing time. In
association with Yahoo!
UK & Ireland, the airline also launches the first online direct
In October, UK home internet users number nearly eight million,
according to Jupiter MMXI.Other firsts for Yahoo! UK & Ireland in
October include the first charity ISP facilitation for Oxfam, the first
integrated online banking partnership with NatWest and the first portal
to co-brand a credit card with the Halifax (Bank One).
IAB online advertising revenue figures show that online ad revenue has
overtaken that of cinema. Cinema ad revenue for 2000 is £128
million, whereas online ad revenue soars to £154.7 million.
Yahoo! hosts the first online sports chat with Nike celebrities,
including Brazilian football star Ronaldo.
Yahoo! UK & Ireland also launches Yahoo! Photos, a deal which it takes
further in partnership with Boots.
Home internet users exceed ten million by May, says Jupiter MMXI.
In August, Yahoo! UK & Ireland organises its first live concert stream
from the Reading festival. Yahoo! UK & Ireland also strikes a WAP
partnership with BT Genie.
Yahoo! UK & Ireland becomes the first major online media owner to adopt
the use of new banner ad sizes following the approval by the IAB of
voluntary guidelines for eight new online ad shapes and sizes following
a six-month industry consultation. The guidelines recommend three new
vertical "skyscraper" shapes, and five larger rectangular banners.
Size matters and the thinking here seems to be bigger is better.
Yahoo! UK & Ireland also teams up with BSkyB to give subscribers to
interactive TV access to its e-mail services.
Despite a slowdown in the growth of online ad revenue, user figures
continue to soar. Jupiter MMXI reports that home internet use surpasses
the 16 million mark in August. Take-up is still growing and now stands
at more than 16 million.
Meanwhile, Yahoo! UK & Ireland launches its first conversion tracking
partnership with Carphone Warehouse, as well as Yahoo! Travel with
Yahoo! UK & Ireland also has a media first when it launches the TV ad
for Mini, before it makes its debut on the small screen.