Google Argentina's domain name bought by man for £2 – BBC

By James Clayton
North America technology reporter

Google Argentina's domain name was bought by a web designer while the site was out of action for two hours in the country last Wednesday.
Nicolas Kurona, aged 30, said he managed to buy through a normal, legal process.
"I never imagined that it was going to allow me to buy it," he told the BBC.
Google Argentina told the BBC: "For a short term, the domain was acquired by someone else." It added it had regained control of the domain very quickly.
The story started when Nicolas was at his desk on the outskirts of Buenos Aires on Wednesday night, designing a website for a client.
He started getting messages on WhatsApp that Google was down.
"I entered into my browser and it didn't work," he said. "I thought something strange was happening."
He decided to go on to the Network Information Center Argentina (NIC) – the organisation responsible for operating the .ar country code domains. He searched for Google – and up popped Argentina's Google domain available for purchase.
Despite thinking it would not work, he "followed the steps and then I received an email with the purchase invoice", he said.
Nicolas shared the NIC invoice with the BBC. Google Argentina's domain name was acquired for 270 pesos (£2.08/$2.90).
Dumbfounded, he tapped into his search bar and pressed enter. "My personal data appeared," he said.
"I was frozen looking at the screen. I could not believe what had just happened."
At 21.52 local time on Wednesday, Nicolas bought Google Argentina's domain name. All of those millions of Google searches, and people coming to, were now in theory, coming to him.
"I want to make it clear that I never had any bad intentions, I just tried to buy it and the NIC allowed me to," he said.
Nicolas's night had, in just a few minutes, turned into a major news story.
"When the purchase process was completed and my data appeared, I knew that something was going to happen… I was really anxious," he said.
Nicolas tweeted what had happened – to try to clarify how events had gone down, he said.
Quiero aclarar que entre a vi el nombre de disponible y lo compre legalmente como corresponde!
So what on earth happened?
Well, one theory is that Google had simply forgotten to renew its domain name. However, Google says its licence for the domain hadn't expired – and was not due to expire until July 2021.
Open Data Córdoba group (which is dedicated to tracking expired Argentine domains, and tracking registered ones) backs this up. It's still unclear why Google's domain name was released.
Nicolas says he has no idea what happened, but it feels "slightly strange" to have so much media attention. He has been hailed as a hero in some corners of Twitter, and his tweet clarifying what happened has racked up 80,000 likes.
Nicolas says he's just relieved that he didn't get into trouble.
He says the NIC took the domain name away from him shortly after he purchased it, but his 270 pesos have not been returned.
He says Google didn't get in touch, and that he wasn't paid. Google has yet to clear up how they got the domain name back.
The company is investigating what went down on Wednesday. But for some reason, for a few minutes at least, Google lost control of Google Argentina this week – to a 30-year-old web designer, it seems.
James Clayton is the BBC's North America technology reporter based in San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter @jamesclayton5.
Google and Apple attacked on app store 'monopoly'
Daily Mail owner sues Google over search results
King leads procession behind Queen's coffin
Will Ukraine's advance have consequences for Putin?
Russians 'outnumbered 8-1' in Ukrainian offensive
Chris Mason: The King personified continuity and grief
What next? A day-by-day guide from now to the funeral
Will Ukraine's advance have consequences for Putin?
Ukraine war in maps: Russians in rapid retreat in the east
Shock and joy in Ukraine's liberated villages
What next for Australia after the Queen?
Queen and her corgis – how the dogs first stole her heart
The Scottish school that educated a king
In pictures: Queen's journey from Balmoral to Edinburgh
The dating 'grey area' Gen Z embrace
Germany's 'time-warp' town
The radical books rewriting sex
© 2022 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.


Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top