Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had been very public about his wife pregnancy and the impending birth of his daughter. He’d been posting updates and pictures, and the world had gushed at the arrival of the first infant of the tech world. However, an Indian student had been following the developments with completely different aims in mind, and now he’s made bank.
Amal Augustine, a Kochi-based college student had registered the domain “maxchanzuckerberg.org” as soon as Zuckerberg had announced that he was going to call his newly-born daughter Max. Chan is Zuckerberg’s wife Priscilla’s maiden name, and his daughter’s full name would’ve been Max Chan Zuckerberg.
After registering the domain, Augustine waited, and sure enough, a casual mail dropped into this inbox last month. A buyer was looking to purchase the domain, and Augustine quoted the “decent” price of $700, or around Rs. 45,000. It was only after he closed the deal that he realized that the buyer had been Facebook itself. The mail was from Sara Chapel, manager of Iconic Capital, the firm which handles the financial deals of Facebook founder.
“When the letter came officially mentioning the change of registration, I noticed the FB letterhead. But since it’s not legal to negotiate, I just went ahead and closed the deal in seven days,” he said. Facebook had been quite clever in handling this process – had they let Augustine know he was dealing with the company directly, he could’ve quoted a sum much more ambitious than $700.
While cyber squatting is undoubtedly a little shady, it’s technical legal. And like Amal Augustine showed, with some resourcefulness and an eye on world events, you can squeeze some cash out a giant multinational corporation.