Meet the guy who owned Google.com for one minute...for $12
Published 01/10/2015 | 10:50
This is the story of former Google employee Sanmay Ved who, at 1:20 am on Tuesday, September 29 became the administrator of Google.com for one minute.
Mr Ved was checking Google’s Domains interface and to his surprise he found that the world’s largest search engine site, Google.com, was available for purchase.
While Mr Ved was expecting to be blocked by an error message, he found that the entire purchasing process went through without a hitch.
“I was learning more about the Google Domains interface and typed Google.com and clicked search domains. To my surprise, Google.com was showing as available!
“I clicked the add to cart icon beside the domain (which should not appear if the domain is not available for sale). The domain actually got added to my cart as seen by the green check-box, and the domain appeared in my cart,” Mr Ved wrote on his documentary piece on LinkedIn.
“I was hoping I would get an error at sometime saying transaction did not go through, but I was able to complete purchase, and my credit card was actually charged!”
Mr Ved added that as soon as he had finished the purchase he received two confirmation e-mails from both email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, the contents of which he did not reveal as they related to the domain.
His webmaster tools were auto-updated to include webmaster related messages for Google.com, which he exclaimed meant that ownership had been transferred to him.
“Additionally, I started receiving notifications, for when ownership changed (along with new owner details etc.) in the Google Search Console for websites (I will not name them) that are powered by Google Sites (which makes sense given that websites powered by Google Sites rest on the master domain Google.com). Quite clearly, ownership had been granted to me. Order was successful.”
However, soon after his venture into Google.com ownership began it came to a close.
“Though purchase had successfully gone through, and domain now belonged to me as evident above, the purchase was followed by an order cancellation email from Google Domains. Google could do this given the registration service used by me (aka Google Domains) belonged to Google, unlike the 2003 event in which Microsoft forgot to renew their Hotmail UK domain which was registered with Nominet UK. As a result, the Hotmail UK domain was returned to the open market for pickup by anybody who fancied it.”
As documented here, Mr Ved showed that a transaction had actually taken place. $12 had moved out of his account and back in again as part of the purchasing and refunding process.
Mr Ved, who worked for Google for five and a half years before leaving to get his MBA, reported the incident to Google Security who in turn acknowledged the incident.
It’s amazing to think that even Google could let its domain slip onto the market. Who knows, maybe for a second they thought ‘let it go and let’s start using alphabet.com’.