This serves as a reminder to always put your Google domain on auto-renew.
On Wednesday night, an Argentinian purchased ownership of the country’s Google domain for a mere 540 Argentine Peso which, according to today’s exchange rate, equates $5.81 USD.
The domain apparently became available after its previous ownership expired the same day. This caused a temporary closedown of the search engine google.com.ar.
Yesterday at 10:45 p.m., Nicolas Kuroña, the alleged culprit, tweeted, “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!”
As reported by MercoPress, Kuroña’s buying did not affect the international ‘www.google.com.’
Such activity is termed “Cybersquatting,” as reported by MercoPress, which refers to the act of holding, registering, buying or selling a domain in order to profit off of the rightful owner’s name recognition. The expiration dates of domains are publicly available and can easily be obtained through registration sites like nic.ar.
It is possible that Google Argentina simply forgot to renew the domain google.com.ar and, during the short lapse, Kuroña saw the chance and took it.
“It is all legal!!,” Kuroña tweeted.
Minutes after this activity, MarcoPress confirmed that Google Argentina successfully recovered its domain and soon restored service to users across the country.
In a Reddit thread about the incident, one user commented, “Whether it was a glitch or truly expired seems to be up for debate here.”
Either way Google users in Argentina complained about the website being down for almost three hours and assumed a crash in the server, according to MercoPress. But Kuroña’s tweet helped to clear things up later on.
Another user tweeted screenshots of the website being down, blaming nic.ar.
“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,” he tweeted.
The nic.ar site was down as well on Wednesday after the users discovered the incident through social media, reported MercoPress.
Newsweek reached out to Google who said they could not comment on the incident at this time.
Google has faced its share of controversies over the past few years as scrutiny of major tech brands continues to ramp up. Recently, they received backlash for partnering with the controversial organization Autism Speaks on a project to “cure” autism.