Shortly after the smoke rising from the Sistine Chapel turned from black to white and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was deemed the world’s new Roman Catholic leader, hundreds of people took to the Web to register domain names with the new pope’s title.
Web hosting and domain registration site GoDaddy told CNET that it racked up more than 100 domain registrations within the first 10 minutes of the announcement. By the first hour, 479 new domains were registered. And, as of this writing, 647 domain names have been registered at GoDaddy.
“The election of Pope Francis is causing hundreds of new domain name registrations,” a GoDaddy spokesperson told CNET. “Technology and religion came together this afternoon following the announcement of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I.”
The newly registered domain names contained keywords such as Pope, Francis, Bergoglio, and Habemus Papam, which is the Latin translation for “We have a pope.” Interestingly, a forward-thinking GoDaddy customer already registered the domain name PopeFrancis.com in April 2010.
Most likely those registering domains with keywords relating to the pope, don’t have much to do with the Catholic Church. Known as cybersquatting, anyone can register a name, sit on it, and sell it to whoever will pay top dollar. According to the BBC, PopeBenedictXVI.com was sold for more than $5,000 in 2005. (source)
No doubt this has nothing to do with the faithful, especially since GoDaddy is not exactly the domain name registrar that faithful Catholics would want to use. Maybe there should be a faithful Catholic domain registrar GoPapa.