You may have noticed that unlike the name of a person or an organization, this website has a very generic domain name. "On the Internet" could be anything. If you're wondering how I came to own this domain, I will tell you the story.

    In 1998, I noticed that most webpage addresses began with "WWW," but a few did not, such as I wanted to understand why that was.

    The web was new, and I live in a small town in western North Carolina, and I could not figure out who to ask. I went straight to the horse's mouth, so to speak, and I called one of the pioneers of the Internet: Paul Mockapetris, the inventor of the Domain Name System (DNS).

    Mr. Mockapetris explained to me that it was a matter of preference, and that pretty much any group of characters may be placed in front of the domain name as part of the address.

    Back then, I had a brother-in-law who wanted a webpage for his sheetmetal business, but was already taken by a competitor. I wanted to help him, and so I hatched an idea to register, then put sheetmetal in front of it, creating the address for him.

    It didn't take long for me to realize that I could put other words in front of that domain name, then direct visitors to different webpages, based on the address that they used.

    Thus I invented Third Level Domain Redirection. The top level domain (TLD) or first level domain is something like .com or in the case of this website, .net. "Ontheinter" is the second level. Whatever goes immediately before that is the third level. Redirection is self-explanatory.

    The 3rd level domain redirection service had more than 17,000 accounts when I shut it down after about 3 years of operation. My service had become a favorite of spammers! I canceled their accounts just as quickly as I could identify them as having spammed, but by then, it was done. I eventually felt I had no choice but to shut down the service.

    I still like this domain name because it's very easy to remember. For years, I have had a unique marketing idea. Marketers are always looking for ways to "cut through the noise," to get their message across to the world. I have imagined commercials in which 2 people are talking. One of them asks where the other one was able to find something really cool.

"Did you get that on the Internet?"

"No, I got that on the Inter DOT net!"

    Hopefully, people would take note and remember the web address. I even drew a mascot for the website, and I call her Dot. She's a yellow dot with a face and a red ribbon with dots on top, like Minnie Mouse.

I know this is screwed up. It's something
I started to do years ago and didn't finish.

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© Michael Allen Gelman