Slips Its Leash

    January 23, 2007

Google users in Germany got a surprise on Tuesday morning when, for a brief period, the search engine company seemed to have lost ownership of its home page. Google is now back in charge of, though, and all is well with the search engine company’s world.

For a while, though, the natural order of things was definitely disturbed. Ever heard of Goneo? It’s a domain holding company, and the hubbub began when its logo appeared in place of the search engine’s site. There was also a short message, which (according to The Register) translated to “There are is [sic] no content at this domain. Please try again later.”

Early reports attributed the change to a slipup on Google’s part. Michael Arrington wrote, “We’re trying to confirm the reason, but it appears to be because Google forgot to renew the domain name. It expired and someone registered it.”

But – as if it wasn’t unsettling enough that Google lost control of its own site – no one seemed sure. Arrington concluded his article by writing, “I want to stress that this is an unconfirmed story at this point.”

It now looks as if all the facts are in. In an article defined by three bold “Updates,” The Register’s Chris Williams sorted them out:

The domain changed hand three times last night . . . A request to take over the domain was placed with Goneo about a week ago. The firm automatically placed a request with German domain registry DENIC . . . which put the request to Google’s German provider. The provider did not respond in the first instance, and ignored a second approach from DENIC.

According to procedure, DENIC then approved the request on Monday evening. Goneo became aware of the registration, and arranged with Google and DENIC to have it transferred back. Unfortunately, somebody else had made an application to register it too, through another domain company, which had also been ignored, so it was transferred to them first . . . . Google finally took possession its German digs this morning.

Google’s undoubtedly a bit embarrassed by the whole mess – companies with market caps of around $150 billion really aren’t supposed to have problems like this – but at least it resolved the matter quickly.


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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.