Meta.com was created in 1991


Today Facebook got its new name. Well, more accurately, the parent company of Facebook got its new name—Meta.

Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp are now under the “Meta” brand name.

I love it. If anyone can get away with naming themselves Meta, it’s a giant like Facebook. This just cracks me up. It’s so meta that they would name themselves Meta. How much more grandiose can you get than Meta? I mean, just name yourself Universe.

They own the domain meta.com. Let’s take a look at the WHOIS record to see when meta.com was first created.

The creation date of the domain meta.com is 1991-01-21T00:00:00Z.

That’s right, kids. 1991. Waaaaay back. Almost in the ’80s! Most times you’ll see domains like this registered in the mid to late 90s. But this domain has some patina to it.

Ok, what used to be on meta.com? Certainly Facebook recently bought this domain from someone so they could use it for their new name. Meta.com has gotta be some sort of other site. Right?

Meta.com from 2017

I pulled up archive.org, and picked a random date—February 9, 2017.

Oh. My. Word. It’s… it’s… Mark Zuckerberg on meta.com in 2017. What? How… how… Did Zuckerburg time travel back in time to put himself on this page? I’M IN THE METAVERSE!!!!!

Seriously though, it seems that Zuckerberg bought this Meta company in 2017. Thus, the meta.com domain has been in Zuckerberg’s pocket for a few years. Now when they needed to rebrand, they just pulled up a list of domains they already own. “Hey, meta.com sounds cool!”

Here I thought Facebook was using their pocketbooks to pay a ton of money to pull the domain away from someone. Instead, they had the domain for quite some time.

Meta.com from 2005

Does meta.com have more of a history beyond 2017? Let’s go further back. The very first capture of meta.com dates back to November 10, 2005.

Yeah, we get what you’d expect of that era. An “Under construction” notice.

Meta.com from 2008

How about something between the first capture of 2005 and the 2017 capture with Zuckerberg on the homepage…. Let’s try 2008. February 9, 2008 has a little something.

Home of:  Meta Productions, LLC  rule08.gif  Producers of:  Meet, Mix & Match™  and other events  Promoting awareness through metamorphosis.  Last updated 2/04/2008

Haha. Oh man. This is it.

Meta Productions, LLC. Producers of Meet, Mix & Match™ and other events. Promoting awareness through metamorphosis.

So delightfully poetic and vague. So many questions.

What is “Meet, Mix & Match™”?
Why does it have a trademark symbol? The homepage doesn’t look serious enough that they would have actually gone through the legal steps of trademarking a slogan. Is this a dating thing? A service for networking? Who is networking? Crazy meta professionals?

What is promoting awareness through metamorphosis?
If I put a book under my pillow, the books contents will metamorphosis into my head? Or maybe given the “Meet, Mix & Match” slogan, maybe I’ll network with people via metamorphosis? Well, Facebook in 2021 might be into that concept.

The great use of large serif font across the page.
This homepage doesn’t feel like 2008, it feels like 1998.

Update: I found some more information about Meta Productions. A business directory lists the following description for Meta Productions, LLC:

Meta Productions, LLC, was formed in 2008 with the goal of creating community, promoting awareness and personal growth, and providing venues where people can meet to find other, like-minded people via Meet, Mix & Match™, and other events. The founder of Meta Productions, LLC, realized upon graduating from college, that there were no real venues for people to meet, other than bars, church or other groups. None of those venues really worked for him. Meet, Mix & Match™ was his answer for a way that is non-denominational and is not affiliated with any particular group. People of all races, orientations, (non-)religions, or genders are welcome to participate in the events and in Metamorphosis™ , a community web site that supports groups and discussions for any and all interests or persuasions. As a further goal, the company is involved with producing and promoting workshops to increase communications between people and support personal growth.

Ahh, so this is a site meant to help people connect with each other. Huh. Kinda… like Facebook today.

We know this is the same company that owned meta.com, because the business profile lists meta.com as the website address. Also, the business location is: 121 E 5th St, Storm Lake, Iowa 50588-2339. Storm Lake is a town of 10,000 people and home to Buena Vista University.

Meta.com has gone through several owners in its lifespan.

All since 2005, meta.com has seen several transitions:

  • A startup organization to connect people
  • A science search engine.
  • Now the holding company for Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp.

But what about before 2005? I’d love to know who bought the domain back in 1991; and if there was a site on it back then.

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3 thoughts on “Meta.com was created in 1991”

  1. Hey Matt – The paid version of DomainTools.com allows you to go back far on the WHOIS data for domain names. I don’t have the paid version any longer, so I can’t help you there.

    My guess is back then, whomever registered it initially got it for free, as the first domain names were not charged for at first.

    mp/m

    1. Oh that’s a great tip! Just looking at their site now, they say “Nearly 2 decades of historical Whois and pDNS data”. It’s nice to know someone is capturing the history of Whois and DNS data.

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