The official Google Argentina domain went down for hours after its ownership was transferred to an Argentinan citizen.
On Wednesday, Google users in Argentina were in for a surprise after the country’s primary search engine went down for almost three hours. Assuming that the server had crashed, many users started expressing concern over what could be wrong with Google Argentina.
The reality was much stranger than what they might have expected. According to MercoPress, an Argentinian citizen identified as Nicolas David Kuroña had purchased google.com.ar domain’s ownership for just 540 Argentinian Peso, which as per today’s exchange rate is equivalent to USD 5.81.
This led to a temporary shutdown of the search engine. The international Google, however, remained unaffected.
Kuroña’s Decisive Tweet
At around 10:45 p.m., Kuroña tweeted from his official Twitter handle @Argentop that he had legally bought the domain.
“I want to clarify that I entered nic.ar I saw the name of Google.com.ar available and I legally bought it accordingly – It is all legal!!,” he added.
Domain Successfully Recovered
A few minutes after the tweet went viral, MarcoPress reported that the Google Argentina domain was recovered successfully and its services across the country got restored.
Google.com.ar owned by Kuroña – Image: @mgonto/Twitter
For your information, domains listed on nic.ar expire after a year and needs to be renewed. So, the domain probably became available after the previous ownership expired.
Dangers of Cybersquatting
The domain became available because Google Argentina didn’t renew it, and a user registered it in his name, which in technical terms is call Cybersquatting. It refers to registering/holding/buying/selling a domain to profit from the legal owner’s name recognition.
Users in Argentina went berserk and started commenting against the ignorant practices of the concerned authorities, who failed to renew the domain timely. One of the users tweeted:
“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.”
However, according to the Open Data Córdoba group, which tracks expired Argentine domains, the Google domain’s expiration date was in July and hadn’t expired. If this is correct, how Nicolas could purchase it is a mystery.
Google and nic.ar are yet to comment on the incident, which we would call a mishap.