Years before most people even knew what the internet was, French immigrant Jean-Noel Frydman registered the domain name France.com in 1994. But now, he's suing his own country to get it back.
These days, single-name domain names can go for millions of dollars. For example, Israel.com sold for almost $6 million in 2008, and Korea.com sold for $5 million in 2000. The country of France, however, seemed to want its coveted domain name for free. So they took it.
Using a French court order that argued France.com was “detrimental to the designation 'France,'" the government convinced web registrar Web.com to hand over the website. Now, France.com redirects to France.Fr.
Frydman, who lives in Miami, said he was given no notice about the transfer, nor offered any payment. He intended France.com to be a hub for francophiles, like himself, living in the U.S. But now, he just feels betrayed by the country he thought he knew.
"I'm in a relationship where I'm the spurned lover. Someone cheated on me — big time," Frydman said. "And the question is will it be the same for me? And that I don't know."
This segment originally aired May 15, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.