The man who almost registered

In the early days of the commercial Internet, domain names were free.

One had to ask, in order to get, however, and the process required manual labor, along with the ability to circumvent the bureaucratic process imposed by the domain manager’s operators, including Jon Postel.

Up until the summer of 1995 that domain names became intangible commodities with an $100 dollar price tag for the first two years of registration, the process of registering a single domain wasn’t easy.

And yet, a 20 year old kid named Justin Hall, ventured off to apply for the registration of the domain

Why ?

He wasn’t a pornographer, but seeing how someone had already registered, and Procter & Gamble had grabbed, why not?

In all essence, “fuck” can have a myriad other uses, other than the obvious physical act; regardless, Justin Hall’s application for in late 1994 was scrutinized.

A week after the September 1st, 1994 application for, Justin Hall received this response from InterNIC:

Justin, my friend – is this domain really necessary? or are you just pushing the envelope?? Perhaps the purpose of this domain could be realized as a third-level domain under either of your cyberogasmic domains???

We’re not in the business of censoring names, but by the same token we are the stewards of the name space. There are undoubtedly a large number of people who would be offended by public display of this name. Seems to me there are already standards in place in other areas that could be applied here. For example, if you wanted to obtain a customized car license plate with various “4-letter” words, would your state issue one to you????

For the time being, I am denying your application. By this message, I am asking for any comment that the project manager or IANA may have on the subject.

I will update your email address and phone number in the InterNIC database.

Regards, Duane
InterNIC Domain Registration

Bureaucracy at work, one would say, and yet, Justin Hall wasn’t phased by it.

He responded with gusto:

Thanks for taking the time to review my domain request individually. I understand your problem with the domain name, and so I wanted to write back to allay your fears. I have set up a small publishing company online and I would like to use this domain to point to a machine where I will be keeping the materials related to this company. This domain name fits in with my vision of the company perfectly.

I don’t disgree with you that fuck is a powerful word – that’s why I would like to use it as a domain name for powerful press. The way the net/www works, people won’t see it unless someone makes a link to it, which makes that someone the first line of determining propriety. Plus, people can operate on the www with transparent URLs, never having to see the address behind the link. Finally, someone writing us e-mail at that address is doing so by their choice, and wouldn’t have the word foisted on them.

With the ever expanding growth of the net, it was inevitable that someone would choose this name. I believe you can trust me to put it to appropriate use.

Let me know what other concerns you might have,

Four days passed by, and Jon Postel himself took some time to email Justin Hall back, sharing some type of waiver that would have to be agreed to:


One concern about your name request has to do with possible litagation arising. Do you agree to pay all costs of the IANA and the InterNIC that might arise due to the registration of this domain name?

Suppose some district attorney in Podunk Georgia decided to haul us all into court for violating some obsenity law in his county? Will you pay all our costs?

The disclaimer below is now being attached to all domain name request materials, and to all completed assignments.


Long story short, even though Justin Hall agreed to that waiver to hold IANA and InteNIC/Network Solutions harmless from any and all costs arising from a potential litigation, the application for was denied.

Justin Hall and Jon Postel eventually met in person, in the summer of 1995.

For the full story, visit Justin Hall’s web site,

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