Intro πŸ’‘

It has been impossible to avoid all the chaos surrounding Twitter over the last year. From the acquisition of the company by an eccentric billionaire, to mass layoffs, to re-branding the entire company to the letter “𝕏”… it has been a wild ride for the social media giant that once was a little blue bird.

When I first heard that Elon Musk had decided to re-brand Twitter to “X”, I thought it was purely a joke but a notification from the New York Times on my phone proved otherwise.

The very first thought that came to my mind was “How on Earth are they ever going to acquire the domain?”. Surely this single letter domain is either already owned by another tech giant or restricted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, right? Well, navigating to will show you that it is currently redirecting to Twitter (as of August 13th, 2023). This is where my adventure down the rabbit hole began. 🐰

The majority of screenshots and source information in the rest of this article comes from the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine. The Internet Archive is a non-profit organization that has been archiving the internet since 1996. It is a great resource for looking at the history of websites and how they have changed over time.

The Internet Archive is an American digital library founded on May 10, 1996, and chaired by free information advocate Brewster Kahle. It provides free access to collections of digitized materials like websites, software applications, music, audiovisual and print materials.

β€” Wikipedia1

The History of πŸ“œ

Jumping right into the history of, we can see that it was first archived in 1996. Let’s walk through the wild history of this domain to see all the different sites that have occupied its space.

1996 πŸ“†

⭐ is a personal site

The very first archived version of shows that it was possibly owned by someone named “Dave” and that it was under construction. in 1996 in 1996 - source

1997 πŸ“†

In 1997, it looks like was still under the ownership of “Dave” but this year he added a third color to the site… green! It also features a red sphere featuring the domain. “Dave” was probably quite aware at the time just how unique the domain name was to own and likely had no idea that his page would be archived for the next 27 years and one day be the home of Twitter. in 1997 in 1997 - source

1998 πŸ“†

At this point, a new owner is using as their personal site. Perhaps “Dave” and “Rob” were friends since “Dave” was mentioned in the previous version of the site. Either way, “Rob” is now the owner of and quite possibly got a nice payout for being able to sell the valuable domain name in the following year. in 1998 in 1998 - source

1999 πŸ“†

⭐ is an online banking service

In 1999, an online bank by the name of was founded by Elon Musk, Harris Fricker, Christopher Payne, and Ed Ho in Palo Alto, California2. The bank needed a domain name so Elon Musk allegedly paid $1 million to purchase the domain name (presumably from “Rob”)3.

During 1999, the site displays an “Under Construction” message without any details. in 1999 in 1999 - source

Early 2000 πŸ“† was up and running in the beginning half of 2000. Navigating to, users would be presented with a login/sign-up screen that sharply aligns with the design trends of the dotcom bubble era. Looking over on the right side of the page, you can see a bit of foreshadowing for the future of… PayPal. in early 2000 in early 2000 - source

Late 2000 πŸ“†

⭐ is PayPal

In the latter half of 2000, and Confinity merged together to form PayPal and so became PayPal2. in late 2000 in late 2000 - source

2012 πŸ“†

⭐ is landing page for eBay and PayPal products

PayPal is acquired by eBay in 2002

Flash forward to the year 2012 and is now a landing page for eBay and PayPal products. eBay acquired PayPal in 2002 and between 2002 and 2012, was mainly used as a fancy link to promote various services. in 2012 in 2012 - source

2017 πŸ“†

⭐ is a blank site with the letter “x”

Between 2012 and 2017, just redirects to This all ended when Elon Musk decided to purchase the domain name back from PayPal/eBay because “it has great sentimental value”2. stays in this state for nearly all of its time until 2023, with just a short break in 2018. in 2017 in 2017 - source

2018 πŸ“†

⭐ is used to promote hat sales

For a brief period of time in 2018, was used to promote hat sales for The Boring Company4 by redirecting to the page (done by Elon Musk, the owner of the domain). in 2018 in 2018 - source - redirect to hat sale

2023 πŸ“†

⭐ 𝕏.com is Twitter (well, almost)

As of August 1st, 2023, is now redirecting to Twitter as part of their re-branding effort to the letter “𝕏”2.

In the near future, this will likely “flip around” and will be the main domain for Twitter while will redirect to in 2023 in 2023 (August 1st) - redirect to twitter

IRL Example 🏭

When thinking about how a “domain” can be the home to many different sites, projects, and companies, I keep thinking about how this is similar to the way humans occupy buildings in different ways over time. Only about a mile walk from me (writing this in London) is the Battersea Power Station. This is a perfect IRL (real-life) example of how a place can serve so many different purposes over the years.

Battersea Power Station was built in the 1930s and at its peak, it was producing a fifth of London’s power5. It was decommissioned in 1983 and has since been used as a filming location for many movies and TV shows. It has now been completely redeveloped to be a mixed-use development containing apartments, cafes, restaurants, tons of shops, and even a hotel.

Battersea Power Station

Conclusion 🏁

The history of is a wild one. From a personal site, to an online bank, to PayPal, to eBay services, to a hat sale, and finally to Twitter… has been a home for many different sites over the years.

  1. The above quote is excerpted from Wikipedia’s article on the Internet Archive ↩︎

  2. “bank” - Wikipedia ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  3. Elon Musk’s $1 million purchase of - ↩︎

  4. The Boring Company - Wikipedia ↩︎

  5. Battersea Power Station - Official Site ↩︎