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Official Google domain name snapped up for just a few dollars

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A web designer in Argentina recently managed to purchase Google's domain name (opens in new tab) for the country while it was inoperative for just two hours.

30-year-old Argentinian Nicolas Kurona explained to the BBC (opens in new tab) that he was able to buy google.com.ar through a normal, legal process last week. However, he never expected that he would be actually be able to purchase the domain name.

Kurona was working from home (opens in new tab) designing a website for a client on the outskirts of Buenos Aires when he began receiving messages on WhatsApp that Google was down in Argentina. He navigated to the site and when it didn't work, he thought “something strange was happening”.

After confirming that Google Argentina's website was down, Kurona then went to the website for the Network Information Center Argentina (NIC) which is responsible for operating the .ar country code (opens in new tab). He then searched for Google and saw that Google's domain in Argentina was available for purchase.

Purchasing google.com.ar

While Kurona didn't think it would work, he followed the necessary steps and then received an email with a purchase invoice for google.com.ar. In total, he paid just 270 Argentinian pesos or just under three US dollars ($2.90/£2.08) for the site.

After acquiring the site, Kurona opened a browser (opens in new tab) and navigated to google.com.ar where his personal data appeared. In a statement to the BBC, he explained that he had no ill intentions and just wanted to see if it would work, saying:

"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. When the purchase process was completed and my data appeared, I knew that something was going to happen... I was really anxious."

Google Argentina has since regained control of its domain name. However, the reason why Kurona was able to purchase the domain has still not been discovered. Although many believed that Google had simply forgotten to renew its domain name (opens in new tab), the company says that the domain was not set to expire until July of this year.

Via BBC (opens in new tab)

Anthony Spadafora
Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.