The Black Man Who Created the Dot-Com Phenomenon

Posted: January 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

When I ran across this story on another website, I knew it was a story that deserved to be told.

Reading the story brought back my early days of surfing the Internet and my first amateur attempts at building my own website. I registered my first domain name with Network Solutions and had no idea that a black man created the company NOR was I aware that this same black man created the revolutionary Dot-Com naming phenomenon.

So, without much ado (or unnecessary commentary by me), here’s an excerpt from the article about the brilliant and largely unknown Internet visionary, Emmit McHenry.

Please share this story with others, especially with young black people who are being programmed to believe that the most successful blacks MUST BE entertainers, athletes, and political puppets — when in reality, there are thousands of black creators, innovators, inventors, and visionaries who will never become black household names.

Faces of Black History – Emmit McHenry

(an excerpt)

image_thumb17Emmit McHenry, founder of Network Solutions

In 1979, Emmit McHenry and a few associates started an engineering company which they named Network Solutions. For 16 years, he and his partners toiled away and built a solid company. They could not get money from any financial institutions so they mortgaged their properties and maxed out their credit cards.

They were good engineers who were awarded with many contracts but the gem within Network Solutions was a contract with the National Science Foundation to create the U.S. Government’s and World first domain name addressing system for the Internet. This was back when the Internet was just a government project, and its commercial potential hadn’t been realized.

Emmit McHenry created a complex computer code whereby ordinary people can now surf the web or have e-mails without studying computer science. He created what we know today simply as .com.

On Dec. 31 1992, Network Solutions got the contract that would make the company a legacy. After the government reviewed several company proposals, The National Science Foundation Department selected Network Solution as manager of domain names registration service for the Internet.

The contract was for $1 million a year for five years. Network Solution had the sole authority to develop and issue Internet system for Web addresses. Network Solution developed .com, .net, .edu, and. gov. so people could communicate on the Internet.

At the time Network Solutions already was handling other sensitive engineering projects for the government. To keep up with the demands the company needed to hire more workers and buy new equipment, but the fixed $1 million a year contract proved to be a constrained because no matter how many names the company registered, it could not charge more.

Over the years demand for domain names increased and the company staff grew to 400 employees. Emmit applied to the government to charge directly for the domain names as the request for names continued to increase by the thousands. The government refused and continued to pay the company $1 million a year for as many requested domain names.

Emmit went to wealthy high profile Blacks and they all refused to invest in his company. He tried the financial institutions and Wall Street and they also said no. In the meantime the government kept insisting if he could not keep up with the volume they would break the contract.

In 1995 Emmit sold Network Solutions to Science Applications International Corp (or SAIC) for 4.8 million plus personal and business debt. In a few months the government gives SAIC the rights to charge $70.00 per year for each domain name plus royalty on any other created domain names, the same request Emmit made and was refused.

With millions of people and companies requesting domain names there was a bidding war to buy the new cash cow SAIC had just acquired. A Wall Street Company called VeriSign, Inc. was the winner. SAIC flipped the newly purchase 4.8 million company to VeriSign, Inc. for $21 Billion within a year.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

More info on Emmit J. McHenry

Please share this story with others, especially young black people!

  1. mstoogood4yall says:

    Yeah I read about this, the sad thing to me is that people don’t know and that other blacks refused to invest in him. I’m not surprised by when the white company bought it that they were allowed to charge what they wanted. The frustrating thing is black inventors are not talked about or their contributions are down played. If black people are ever going to get our stuff together we gotta first learn to invest in each other. If this brotha did this now i’d donate some money even if it is a small amount as if everybody donates a little it adds up.

    i’m reading brainwashed and in it tom burrell talks about how other people put their money together instead of having to go get a loan and help one open a business. I know black people are mistrustful and all that and our history makes people weary of each other. But I can’t help but wonder when are people going to work through that and heal.

    I think if we created something where each member puts in at least $5 and then invest a little bit of it and save the rest at a bank or put it in a safe, we’d be able to do something and have everybody that is interested in opening a business give their ideas and the members vote on whose business to try to open first and then save money up for that business to start. But then the whole thing of which trustworthy people to have the safe code or where it will be stored may be an issue.

    • TrojanPam says:

      @ mstoogood4yall

      I would love to see blacks pool our resources, fund our own schools and businesses, and those of us who work in the business world to teach entrepreneurship to those willing to HUMBLE themselves and learn, to turn our churches into business-related co-ops, and to STOP SUPPORTING the degradation of blacks portrayed in the entertainment industry.

      • Kyle says:

        I feel you ms toogood4yall. That would be excellent. It can happen though it would take some time to find the people wanting to make it a wonderful reality. I applaud and respect Emmit

  2. Timothy says:

    Emmit McHenry should be respected and acknowledged for his genius and his gifts of technological advancement. I will show this story everywhere. The youth should understand this story truly. Also, we ought to help our people to learn and cultivate understanding of STEM fields. These fields have existed throughout human history and they will forever be relevant in the lives of humanity. We need knowledge from STEM subjects to invent, to calculate pressure, and to do everyday actions all of the time. Once again, we see how the corporate world will exploit the contributions of black people for their own aims. We can do so much better by pooling our resources and using ACTIVISM instead of supporting musicians or so-called “celebrities” degrading our people in a daily basis. One thought in my mind deals with cooperatives. For the past few years, I read about them. I believe we should research on creating cooperatives as a means to directly benefit our own lives.

  3. billlincoln2 says:

    Bet you thought slavery was over in South Carolina, think again.

    US District Court, Charleston, SC; Employers, mistreating Blacks with undeserved difficulty in the workplace, are not guilty of discrimination. Imagine the public outcry if a dog was mistreated?

    The case now goes to the Supreme Court with this question.
    1. QUESTION PRESENTED filed to the Supreme Court Justices on 4-21-2014.
    “ Is it in the public interest to know that a US District Court, after reviewing evidence, ruled that a ‘group of executive White people were actually mistreating a Black employee and causing him undeserved difficulty at work’, but still did not find them guilty of racial discrimination or creating a hostile working environment ”?
    1. William Lincoln filed a racial discrimination lawsuit in 2012 at the US District Court in Charleston, SC (Civil Action No. 2:11-3234-DCN-BHH).
    2. An abundance of evidence was given to the Court to substantiate the claim of racial discrimination, including the replacement of 90 per cent of the Black instructors with White instructors, in less than a year. He was the only Black instructor left.
    3. This is the mentality and the actual ruling of the US District Court of the 4th District;
    “The Court would acknowledge that the plaintiff may have legitimately faced some mistreatment or undeserved difficulty at work”. Some of the facts are irregular. But, there is no evidence that his experience was racially motivated.” (p4. para 1 and 2).
    4. Not one White person was cited as being mistreated as the Black man.
    5. So it is not your imagination that our criminal justice systems are mistreating Black people and causing them undeserved difficulty.
    6. Please, help me fight the mistreatment of Black people wherever, whenever, and by whomever it occurs.

  4. Reblogged this on One Tawny Stranger and commented:
    (thanks to Racism is White Supremacy)

  5. Amazing says:

    Amazing, look what he’s doing now —->

  6. Teresa says:

    I worked for Emmit at NSI. Left to work for SAIC (largest employee owned us company) – could see that Mr. McHenry was being held back. I include him in my stories whenever possible.

  7. Bob Sheppard says:

    Mr. McHenry was a good friend of my parents when he and his family lived in Maine in the late 1970’s while he worked for Union Mutual Insurance. He was a fascinating person, and though I am sorry that we lost touch when he left the state I am not surprised to read about his achievements. This is unfortunately a story that has been repeated all to often in America…

  8. Ebony McHenry says:

    Excellent article I would never have known

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