Names, Numbers, and Network Solutions: The Monetization of the Internet

Author: Mike Daniels

"NAMES, NUMBERS, AND NETWORK SOLUTIONS: The Monetization of the Internet" (by J. Robert Beyster and Michael A. Daniels) recounts the gripping story of the commercialization of the Internet in the ‘90s and highlights the role of a then-small business by the name of Network Solutions that had the task of making these domain names available to the general public. It is a riveting read of near misses and hard-won successes, leading to a dramatically changed global commerce landscape. Shortly after Network Solutions received the domain name contract from the U.S. government, it was purchased by SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) in 1995 for $4.7 million. Five years later, SAIC sold Network Solutions to VeriSign for $19.3 billion (with a B).

Thirty-five years ago, the number of Internet users could fit into a large lecture hall. In 2011, it is estimated that more than two billion people used the Internet, almost 30 percent of the world’s population. The Internet is now the foundation on which almost every global multi-billion dollar business is built. However, things could have gone very differently if the U.S. government had not decided to allow domain names to be expanded beyond government and university researchers, and sold to companies and institutions.

Drawing from exclusive interviews with many of the key and lesser-known figures in the birth, development, and operational side of the Internet, authors Dr. Bob Beyster (founder, former CEO and chairman of SAIC) and Mike Daniels (former chairman of Network Solutions) provide an insider’s view of the immense challenges faced, and the unsung heroes who tackled them. The book describes the complex and evolving roles of the U.S. government in seeding this technological revolution, and of the private sector players who transformed a little-known computer network into the vast commercial infrastructure that fills our lives today.

In addition to looking back in time, Names, Numbers, and Network Solutions offers a glimpse into the future challenges of Internet regulation, security, and privacy issues. The next chapter has already begun.