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What Was the First Thing Ever Sold Over the Internet?

Technically speaking, the concept of information sharing started on January 1, 1983. It is also known as the official birthday of the internet. But it wasn’t until August 6, 1991, when the World Wide Web went live. But did you ever wonder what was the first thing ever sold on the internet?

Marijuana was the first thing ever sold on the internet. Stanford students sold weed to MIT students in the 1970s, using ARPANET to facilitate the transaction.

How was Online Selling then More Like Craigslist than Amazon?

This original internet transaction was not conducted in the same manner as an Amazon purchase. It was more similar to garage sales on Craigslist, which has a very early day of the Internet vibe to it. It wasn’t a cash transaction; instead, it was a bargain put together online and carried out in person. It took a few more years for buyers to be able to transfer their credit card information over the internet securely. (Source: History Daily)

What was the First Online Purchase in History?

Weed was the very first online transaction. Some enterprising Stanford students made the first online sale in history. This eventually paved the way for decades of illegal online business.

It’s important to remember that this was not the score to end all scores, nor was it made public on an early version of eBay. In 1972, it was just a small bag of marijuana sold through an Arpanet account in Stanford’s artificial intelligence lab. Apart from the students, it’s unclear who was involved in the said sale. (Source: History Daily)

The Beginnings of Online Sales and the World of eCommerce

Thanks to the single sale of a small amount of marijuana, online entrepreneurs realized they could sell anything they wanted on the Internet. 

Donald Sherman used a talking computer to order a pizza in 1974, and a 72-year-old British woman named Jane Snowball used a Videotex connected to her television to order groceries ten years later. Like the Stanford weed purchase of the 1970s, this order was just that: an order. Snowball paid for the food in person. (Source: History Daily)

What was the First Significant Purchase Done Online?

It wasn’t until 1994 that the first online sale that we’d recognize as such, complete with credit card information and the United States Postal Service, occurred. Dan Kohn sold a copy of Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales to a man in Philadelphia for $12.48 plus shipping on August 11 that year, using an encrypted credit card. 

Even if the N.S.A. was listening in, they couldn’t get his credit card number.

Dan Kohn

(Source: History Daily)

The Silk Road To The Future

Since the first internet marijuana sale in 1972, a lot has changed. In fact, entire websites are now dedicated to selling drugs and other illegal goods. 
The desire of consumers to make purchases from the comfort of their own homes rather than put on pants and brave the public market has been consistent, whether it’s for mind-altering narcotics or British post-punk stars. (Source: History Daily)

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