Man buys Google’s Argentinian web address for £2

Andrew Griffin@_andrew_griffin
Tuesday 27 April 2021 19:14
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A man briefly took control of Google’s Argentinian website last week after an apparent slip-up.

Nicolas Kuronam, a 30-year-old web designer, said he was able to buy the address – Google.com.ar – through the normal process.

But it is still not clear why he was able to do so, given Google appeared to have had the address registered until later this year.

The events began when Mr Kuronam began to received WhatsApp messages last week, which said that Google was offline. He typed the search engine’s address into his browser and found that he was unable to access it, too.

He then visited the website of the Network Information Center Argentina, or NIC, which maintains .ar domain names. There he found that the address was available for purchase, and for 270 pesos, or just over £2.

He did not think that he would be able to buy it, and did not do so with any “bad intentions”, he told the BBC. But he put his information into the system to see if it would work – and then it did.

A few minutes later he visited the site that would usually host Google for the whole of Argentina, and found his own personal details.

He rushed to explain himself on Twitter, writing in a post that he wanted to make sure people knew that he saw it was available and had bought it legally and in the proper way. That tweet has since been shared more than 10,000 times and led to him becoming somewhat famous in Argentina.

He shared an image of the website during the brief period it disappeared.

The address has since been taken back from him, and now takes people to Google’s Argentinian website again. He told the BBC that he is yet to receive any explanation of what happened – or the 270 pesos he paid to briefly own one of the biggest web addresses in the world.

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