Google Search is one of the biggest, most recognizable brands on the planet. So when it’s suddenly inaccessible for a country of 45 million people, someone’s bound to notice. Such was the case on Wednesday, after an Argentinian man was somehow able to purchase the domain for the Argentia portal to Google Search, google.com.ar.
The person who bought the domain was reportedly Nicolás David Kuroña, who claimed on Twitter that he purchased Google.com.ar from domain registrar NIC Argentina after noticing it was available for sale.
— Nicolas Kuroña (@Argentop) April 22, 2021
After Kuroña purchased the domain, Google.com.ar was briefly unavailable (though Argentinians could always use the standard .com version). The situation was quickly resolved, and apparently Google.com.ar was returned to working order in just a few minutes. Precisely how isn’t clear, since Kuroña’s purchase appears to be entirely legal. Google and NIC Argentina both declined to comment on the situation when asked by local and international media.
This isn’t the first time a major Google domain suddenly went dark: last year Google forgot to renew the Blogspot India domain, Blogspot.in, causing thousands of smaller blogs to go dark. Google has since regained access to that domain, but apparently the company isn’t interested in maintaining the actual service. As of today it’s redirecting to the Google home page, in India and elsewhere.
Not expired after all
An earlier version of this report stated that Google’s domain for Google.com.ar had expired. That doesn’t appear to to the case: while Kuroña was apparently able to buy the domain name from a standard registrar, OpenDataCordoba reports that the google.com.ar domain is set to expire in July of this year, and so shouldn’t have been up for either renewal or re-listing. Exactly how Kuroña saw the option to buy the domain remains unknown as of Friday afternoon.