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The heart of tech

This article was published on November 26, 2015

    The first ecommerce transaction wasn’t a Pizza Hut pizza or weed, it was a Sting CD

    Bryan Clark
    Story by

    Bryan Clark

    Former Managing Editor, TNW

    Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

    There are a lot of theories online as to what exactly constitutes the Web’s first ecommerce transaction.

    Was it the purchase of weed by students at Stanford from students at MIT between 1971 and 1974?

    Nope. This was more of an instant message transaction and no money exchanged hands.

    It could have been Jane Snowball, a 72-year-old British woman. In 1984 she used the Video Tex to buy margarine, eggs and Corn Flakes from her local grocer.

    Nope. The transaction didn’t use mainstream technology and Snowball paid for her goods in cash.

    It seems the first ecommerce transaction actually took place at a tech startup called Net Market. On August 11, 1994, the startup saw the first secure online transaction when founder Dan Kohn saw his friend buy a Sting CD using a credit card.

    That day, Dan Kohn and his three co-founders had no idea what a big business ecommerce would become. But like all great journeys, it started with a single step.

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