Being Pope may mean good things in the afterlife but here on Earth, it doesn't count for a lot on the Internet. On the day Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis, over 600 domain names were registered by cybersquatters. They must be evangelicals.
Even mistaken names like Francis I were taken.
So Popefrancis.org is not available to the Roman Pontiff, along with most of the country-specific domains, like popefrancis.fr. Even popefrancisi.com was scooped by someone.
Oddly, at the time of this writing, his Argentina country-specific domain was still available - so if you want to grab Popefrancis.ar.com, you still can. Look for domain company GoDaddy to have scantily-clad nuns stripping in the enclave advertising that one real soon.
Stephen Ewart, Marketing Manager for domain name seller names.co.uk is hoping visions of a bidding war for Pope Francis domains spur registrations at his company: "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."
Ewart mistakenly calls him Francis I too - he's probably Anglican, they've been dissing the Pope ever since Henry VIII wanted to get yet another divorce.
"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."
One interesting factoid - if you are looking for a more accurate date for the apocalypse than what we get semi-annually from both environmental and religious groups, someone out there did register popefrancis.com - way back in 2010. On GoDaddy. So America may have lost out on having the first Pope from this side of the world, but we still know how to make money.