The Vatican have already lost one key piece of intellectual property by losing key domains surrounding newly elected Pope Francis I on his first day of Papal duties, and could “spark a bidding war” reveals domain name company names.co.uk.
Over 600 domains were registered within hours of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s anointment as the Head of the Catholic Church. These include:
- Popefrancisi.com – registered in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on 13th March 2013
- Popefrancis.co.uk – registered in Florida on 13th March 2013
- Popefrancis.org – registered in Arizona on 13th March 2013
- Popefrancisi.eu – also registered yesterday
- Popefrancis.fr – registered in Australia on 13th March 2013
- Popefrancis.com – registered in 2010, well in advance
Argentina’s permeation, Popefrancis.ar.com, is, however, still available.
Stephen Ewart, Marketing Manager for names.co.uk, thinks that the Vatican has overlooked this announcement: “No sooner had the white smoke billowed from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel than cheeky cybersquatters from Ireland had began registering key domain names connected to Pope Francis I.”
He explains: “We expect this to spark a real bidding war for Pope Francis’ domains. In 2005 the address for Pope was sold for over $5,000. Not bad for a $20 investment! I find this a very surprising oversight on such a major appointment. Previously the Catholic Church has been very savvy about owning their domain names. In December last year they paid over $180,000 to own .catholic and actually had the chinese version of the domain name selected as the first top level domain to go live in the world. Unfortunately the new Pope has fallen at the first hurdle of connecting with the Internet Generation.”
“At Names.co.uk we like to highlight the importance of individuals and businesses registering the right domain name on day one. This oversight by the Vatican shows that even the most high profile organisations can forget to own their online brand.”
The Pope is not the first high-profile world leader to forget about his domain name. In 2006 David Cameron launched his blog ‘WebCameron’ only to find that http://www.webcameron.com points to an Australian Poet. At the time the poet posted on his website: “Obviously this isn’t the site of David Cameron’s weblog (leader of the Conservative Party UK), but feel free to have a look around here.”