Pope Francis spurs hundreds of domain name registrations

Just hours after the world's new Roman Catholic leader is named, more than 600 domain names are registered at GoDaddy with keywords such as Pope, Bergoglio, and Habemus Papam.

A cardinal makes an oath as he attends the Sistine Chapel for the conclave in Vatican City, Vatican. Servizio Fotografico L'Osservatore Romanov via Getty Images

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.

Until today, the Sistine Chapel has been a technology dead zone . In an effort to ensure absolute secrecy and prevent electronic snooping on the 115 cardinals casting their votes, all tech devices were banned.

However, with the unveiling of Pope Francis, the tech whir is back at it. Not only have all of these new domain names been registered, but the pope's Twitter account has also been reactivated .

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.

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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