The website went 'live' on Monday October 23, 2006. You'll see the reason for the quotation marks in a second.
The first three posts, all put up by Paul:
...The service also introduces the first regular report on activity in the rapidly evolving Credit Default Swap market, which appears on the site each day at Noon....We didn't know how rapidly evolving the little beasties were.
The first day's output was 29 posts including a bit of history, the announcement of the retirement of ABN Amro Hoare Govett's Chairman:
Meinertzhagen to hang up his brogues
That post is bracketed by "Reminder: Markets Live at 11am today" and "Markets live transcript 23 Oct 2006".
Talk about "When one door closes another door opens...".
The next day, Tuesday the 24th, Alphaville had two more posts on The City and Mr. Meinertzhagen.
It was rather a big deal, in all the papers.
Pearson made no mention of the roll-out (but of course was all over it when FT Alphaville won two Webby's as 'Best Business Blog' a bit over a year later)
Now back to going "live".
The day before Paul took it live, Sunday the 22nd he posted "Welcome to FT Alphaville. We launch on Monday at 6am London time".
Even earlier, on Oct. 19 the Guardian published "FT to launch live markets blog" that said:
...A prototype of the site is up and running at http://ftalphaville.ft.com/.Which prompted:
Hello there mediaguardian.co.uk junkies
You’ve caught us half-dressed. Come back on Monday morning when we’ll be launching formally.You'll note the #316 in the URL:
http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2006/10/19/316/hello-there-mediaguardiancouk-junkies/which means the 316th post on the blogging platform.
How far back do these pre-launch posts go?
The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine is no help, the first crawl of the spiders wasn't until November 2.
The two earliest posts still on the internet are from Oct. 16, #237, a "Howdy World" timestamped out of order at 07:30
Welcome to FT Alphaville
...The editorial thinking underpinning this new service from FT.com is that in a world where market professionals are inundated with information there is a pressing need to edit and filter, and hopefully sow a few ideas along the way.and the earliest we found?
This is almost too perfect; #243, one week before launch, timestamped at 05:30: