What follows is the text of an open letter from our CEO, Elliot Noss.
With great pride I note that January marks the 10th anniversary of the first domain name registered through OpenSRS.
Back in the spring and summer of 1999, we started planning for a different way to sell domain names. We had two businesses at the time, the Tucows.com software libraries and a large Toronto ISP, Internet Direct.
We knew that domain names should be simple and inexpensive to sell, and were made much too difficult and expensive by the monopoly provider. We were confident that we could fix that.
We also knew something more important. With competition coming, the companies planning to launch were simply copying the monopoly and maybe dropping the price a little. Domain names would likely be offered from $35/year!
And we recognized that registrars didn’t sell domain names, service providers did.
We took those beliefs and poured them into a service offering that launched in January of 2000. It was an immediate success.
Now ten years later, and we still have our very first customer still happily and actively selling domains through OpenSRS. The first domain we sold is still managed by OpenSRS. And we’ve grown every single year.
So much is different now than it was then. The meaning of “service provider” has changed. In 2000, what we today know as web hosts were really just evolving out of the loam, forced into existence by telcos and cablecos killing dialup ISPs through regulation. Now the whole concept of the web host is morphing into something different, and, in many ways there may be a re-integration of “ISPs” and “web hosts”.
So much is the same as it was then. People still need a personal relationship to help them get the most out of the Internet. Too many people still don’t have one. There is still a huge gap between what people CAN do on the Internet and what they are ABLE to do.
Most importantly, we still view service providers as the greatest distribution channel in the Internet economy. We care deeply about our relationships with them and embrace the ones that care deeply about their relationships with their customers. So many of you are still around TEN YEARS LATER! You should be proud. I know I am.
Thanks to all our customers, employees and partners. We hope and expect that the next ten years will be even better!
CEO Tucows Inc.
It’s been a great ten years for OpenSRS, and a great ten years for the Internet as a whole. We’d love to hear from you as well! What’s your memories of the early days? How did you come to be an OpenSRS partner, and how did you come to realize success in your business? Comments are open; share your memories.