THE NET EFFECT: A brief history of the internet - So where did the internet come from? And when did HRH send her first e-mail? Everything you ever wanted to know about the internet


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, 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 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 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

marketing campaign.

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.


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