March 18, 2013
It appears the rumours of PopeFrancis.com being grabbed by cybersquatters with dark motives are somewhat exaggerated.
Soon after the new Pope was elected, a rush on related domain names occurred. Even before the selection, registration of pope-ish domain names was brisk, with Verisign reporting more than 1,300 new domains registered across the .com and .net top level domains "with keywords related to the papacy".
After the selection of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis, occurred, 479 related domains were registered within the first hour according to a CNet report. Some of these names were quickly offered on eBay at exorbitant prices; some in the tens of thousands of dollars and promising huge returns on resale.
However, the domain name to have of course - the one potentially worth the really big bucks - was PopeFrancis.com.
But far from it being a case of being registered by a party with dark intent or profit in mind, the name had been acquired in 2010 by Chicago lawyer Chris Connors who says he registered it on a whim; hoping that perhaps some day a Pope may choose the name of Francis; after St. Francis of Assisi.
St. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history and believed that "absolute personal and corporate poverty was the essential lifestyle for the members of his order," states Wikipedia; an outlook said to be shared by Pope Francis.
According to the Chicago Tribune; while Mr. Connors has had offers on the domain name, he wants to "give Pope Francis dibs first" and won't be seeking payment should the Vatican take him up on his offer.
While Mr. Connors may not receive any cash from his fortuitous investment; the positive press coverage he (and in turn his law firm) has received is priceless.
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