I doubt it predates the internet. As you mentioned, it is simply folks trying to sound fancy. Also, I believe what AC meant was using "oxford" to describe any shoe dressier than Chuck Taylors having laces. In other words, blurring the "open lacing/closed lacing" distinction. I have even noticed that on Alden & AE's websites, i.e. referring to a derby or blucher as an oxford. Folks you'd think would know better.