Update: Well, that was quick. It looks like google.co.za is back up. The new lease will last until 25 June 2023. Let’s hope Google or MarkMonitor ticks the autorenew box before then. For all the folks thinking about trying to swipe the domain out from under Goolge’s nose, better luck next time.
Original story: It’s the first day of a new month and that means, for a lot of people, subscription renewal day. But it looks like someone at Google forgot to hit the renew button ahead of the lease ending for the google.co.za domain, so it’s gone dark.
The lease for google.co.za expired on 25 June 2022 and has yet to be renewed. Meaning, unless it is renewed soon, it’ll be deleted. If that happens, google.co.za will be up for grabs for anyone with the fastest clicking finger. Or the quickest bot.
Did someone make an oopsie?
This info is all available at who.is, an Internet record listing used for identifying domain registrars. The search giant obviously has a lot on its plate so it got MarkMonitor to register the domain on its behalf. That registration started on 25 June 2001 and ended 21 years later. That would be last Saturday.
The most likely explanation is that there was a lapse in payment from Google or maybe someone just forgot. The domain is inactive at the time of writing but it hasn’t been deleted yet. There’s still time to get it back up.
If it doesn’t we could have a repeat of what happened with google.com back in 2015. A former Google employee, Sanmay Ved, found the google.com domain up for sale. He paid just $12 (R200) at the time and the payment surprisingly went through and the domain was placed under his ownership.
Obviously it can’t have that so it had to buy it back from him. In typical Google style, it paid him $6006.13 which looks like ‘google’ if you squint hard enough. It doubled that when Ved donated the first bit to charity.
If you’re looking to make a quick buck, you could sit with your finger glued to the refresh button in the hopes that a renewal doesn’t go through and you can snap the domain up for yourself. It’s possible, but not very likely.