Argentina temporarily lost its Google domain after a random member of the public bought it for the equivalent of around $5.
Taking to Twitter yesterday, April 22, Nicolas Kuroña said a google search had shown the domain ‘google.com.ar’ was available to buy, so he bought it.
Translated into English, he wrote:
I want to clarify that I entered http://nic.ar I saw the name of http://google.com.ar available and I legally bought it accordingly!
Kuroña bought the domain for 540 Argentine Peso, which equates to $5.79 and £4.81.
According to Merco Press, it is likely that he was able to buy the domain in the short window between its expiry and renewal.
His purchase did not affect the international google domain, and the Argentinian domain has since been recovered.
Despite its quick recovery, users online had complained that Google Argentina had been out of service for around three hours.
Some users blamed nic.ar, a domain registration website, for making the process of renewal so difficult.
‘This happens because nic.ar is SO SO SO bad that it doesn’t support automatic renewals or multi-year buy like most domain registrations in the world,’ one person said.
Upon seeing Kuroña’s tweet, social media users were quick to inform him that his buying of the domain amounted to cybersquatting – the act of buying or holding a domain with the intent of profiting off of the owner’s trademark.
‘I suppose you are fully aware that what you did exists a long time ago, and is called ‘cybersquatting’, right? It has no destination. There is already a lot of background and jurisprudence on the subject, and you are simply going to lose it, regardless of whether you paid or not,’ one person said.
Over on Reddit, users shared other stories of incidents where big corporations almost lost their domain names.
‘I remember back in the late 90s a guy at Microsoft was trying to determine why Hotmail.com was down. He figured out [the] domain expired. He then used his personal credit card to get it back up for the company. They gave him a bonus and Bill Gates personally thanked him,’ one person wrote.
Another shared the story of Uzi Nissan, who famously rejected car company Nissan’s offer to buy his domain Nissan.com, which he used for his electronics firm, Nissan Computer.
The carmaker even ended up taking him to court over the domain, costing him an alleged $3 million, before eventually backing down and letting him keep the name, The Drive reports.