The Internet Hall of Fame was established in 2012, on the 20th anniversary of ISOC. Its stated purpose is to "publicly recognize a distinguished and select group of visionaries, leaders and luminaries who have made significant contributions to the development and advancement of the global Internet".
Nominations may be made by anyone through an applications process. The Internet Hall of Fame Advisory Board is responsible for the final selection of inductees. The advisory board is made up of professionals in the Internet industry.
In 2012, there were 33 inaugural inductees into the Hall of Fame, announced on April 23, 2012 at the Internet Society's Global INET conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
The class of 2014 inducted 24 people. They were announced at an event in Hong Kong.
There were no inductees in 2015 and 2016 while the ISOC worked to create an Advisory Board to provide leadership on the program's direction. This Advisory Board would be responsible for the selection of the inductees going forward.
On September 18, 2017, the Internet Society gathered to honor the fourth class of Internet Hall of Fame Inductees at UCLA, where nearly 50 years ago the first electronic message was sent over the Internet's predecessor, the ARPANET.
From 2012 to 2017, inductees were considered in three categories:
Pioneers: "Individuals who were instrumental in the early design and development of the Internet."
Global Connectors: "Individuals from around the world who have made significant contributions to the global growth and use of the Internet."
Innovators: "Individuals who made outstanding technological, commercial, or policy advances and helped to expand the Internet's reach."
An asterisk (*) indicates a posthumous recipient. In 2019, inductees were not assigned categories.