Once in a while, we come across a story so silly we can barely believe it's real. Such is the case with this one reported by Newsweek.
This week, an Argentinian citizen bought ownership of his country's Google domain for 540 Argentine Pesos (approximately $5.81 USD). This resulted in a temporary shutdown of the site google.com.ar.
The citizen bought the domain the same day it expired. "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!" Nicolas Kuroña, the domain buyer, tweeted.
You would think that purchasing a domain name that belongs to someone else would be illegal but it is in fact not. Once a domain name expires it becomes available to all.
However, in this case, that is not what happened. Instead of the domain expiring, a random person paid for the registration fee and had it in their name. This should not happen because once you own a domain, you do so for a set duration of time.
This was most likely a nic.ar registrar issue and once the issue was noticed it, was likely corrected. Funnily enough, the same thing happened to Google.com back in 2016.
There exist grifters too!
The practice of buying domain names in the hopes of selling them back to their rightful owners is called cybersquatting and it's more common than you would think.
"The practice that's come to be known as cybersquatting originated at a time when most businesses were not savvy about the commercial opportunities on the Internet. Some entrepreneurial souls registered the names of well-known companies as domain names, with the intent of selling the names back to the companies when they finally woke up," states the legal encyclopedia Nolo.com.
It adds that Panasonic, Fry's Electronics, Hertz, and even Avon were once "victims" of cybersquatters. As for Google, a quick visit to google.com.ar will indicate that the tech giant got its site back. All is well that ends well.