Mark Zuckerberg just paid $700 (around Rs 47,000) to an Indian cyber squatter for rights to maxchanzuckerberg.com. Zuckerberg’s daughter is named Maxime Chan Zuckerberg and the domain name was reportedly acquired by Amal Augustine soon after Zuckerberg’s daughter was named, reports ScoopWhoop.
Amal Augustine is a student at KMEA college at Kochi and apparently makes a habit of picking up domain names that he thinks will be relevant in the future. When GoDaddy sent Augustine a mail asking him if he was willing to sell the domain, he agreed and asked for $700. Only later did he realise that the domain was being purchased by ICONIQ capital, which manages Mark Zuckerberg’s assets.
One would certainly expect Augustine to have asked for a great deal more money for a domain even remotely related to Facebook, but whatever the reason, the deal worked out very nicely for Zuckerberg.
GoDaddy’s policies prevent any form of negotiation where domain name sales are involved, denying Augustine the chance to negotiate the price of the domain with Facebook.
Cybersquatting isn’t illegal per se, but there are a great many people, like Amal Augustine, who’ve made a habit of it and who have profited from the venture.