January 23, 2007
The search engine operator Google got back its German domain google.de this morning. Ownership of the domain had briefly changed hands last night. In place of Google’s search mask a website hosted by the young German provider Goneo would all of a sudden POP up when users tried to access the search engine at google.de. At the German domain registry DeNIC an investigation into how the hijacking operation was able to succeed is still underway. According to information gathered by heise online the name grab took place in a manner similar to that of a spectacular coup in 2004 during which a private individual was able to get control of eBay.de.
Last night at 8:30 p.m. the hosting of google.de had, according to Mr. Keilwerth, shifted to the German web hosting newcomer. When very shortly thereafter people became aware of what had happened, the company had without further ado allowed DeNIC to release the domain once again. Towards midnight however an outside KK application appears to have derailed google.de’s return to the search engine operator, causing it instead to end up in the hands of a Wiesbaden-based domain dealer. Thus it wasn’t until shortly after 9 a.m. that DeNIC was able to put an end to the domain’s odyssey. Goneo CEO Marc Keilwerth made it clear that he very much regretted what had happened and gave assurances that the company would in future carry out ownership checks of all parties filing KK applications.
A note to all you companies out there: set your domains on auto-renew, have the domain renewal email reminders go to a list of people who should actively check it, and, above all, if you are a registrar, at least set it up so you don’t lose your own domains!