Reports are coming in from Germany that Google.de was down “for many hours” yesterday, and has now gone live again. We’re trying to confirm the reason, but it appears to be because Google forgot to renew the Google.de domain name. It expired and someone registered it. While the site was down the site showed a standard domain name registrar parked page (probably including Google Ads).
Domain name management can be tricky – email renewal notices can often get lost because employees have left the company. A number of registrars specialize in handling large company domain names to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen. Google uses one of those services, MarkMonitor, for at least its Google.com domain name. If Mark Monitor was also managing their .de domain name it is a serious black mark on their record.
I want to stress that this is an unconfirmed story at this point. If anyone has any additional information, please pass it on. A screen shot of the site when it was down would be ideal.