Sanmay Ved used to work for the search giant, Google, and by chance recently managed to buy the domain name “Google.com” and own it for one whole minute.
Ved told Business Insider he was up late and was browsing Google Domains, the domain sales service run by Google. He was just messing around and decided to type “Google.com” into the search box.
Imagine his surprise when Google.com appeared to be available. Instead of the expected grey sad face, there was, instead, a bright green smiley face next to the domain name, meaning he could actually buy it — and for the bargain price of $12.
How I Ended Up Purchasing & Owning http://t.co/e5FYpux1Fc via Google Domains | Sanmay Ved | LinkedIn https://t.co/pr0ABZ3YRy
— Sathyam M Vellal (@sathyamvellal) October 1, 2015
He couldn’t believe his luck and immediately added the domain to his shopping cart and then went ahead and paid for it. He told Business Insider he initially thought it must be an error, but he found he could actually complete the check out.
There he was, the proud owner of Google.com for the not-so-princely sum of $12.
Normally, on purchasing a domain from Google Domains, he would have received an email confirming the sale. However, in Ved’s case, he found his Google Search Console dashboard, where he can maintain the other websites he owns, was immediately updated with messages that showed him to be the domain owner.
Ved received emails with information that he probably shouldn’t have had, and also had access to the webmaster controls for Google.com, which he has since reported to the security team at the search engine giant and which they have since acknowledged.
Ved reportedly took screenshots all along the way, detailing the entire incident in a post on LinkedIn.
That time when a Google service allowed a Xoogler to buy http://t.co/oau3jmENZ7 (for a minute) https://t.co/gV6K4X0ErO
— Christian Hernandez (@christianhern) October 1, 2015
While the adrenaline was still flowing, and regrettably for Ved, within just a short minute, Google Domains canceled the sale. Reportedly they told him that someone else had registered the site before he could and refunded the $12 he had paid for the domain.
He still thinks the whole thing is great, however, and said, “So for one minute I had access,” adding “At least I can now say I’m the man who owned Google.com for a minute.”
When asked what could have happened to allow him to purchase the domain, Ved said he wasn’t sure. He thought maybe there was a bug in the Google Domains system, or possibly the company had merely failed to renew its domain name in time, which does seem unlikely.
According to a Google spokesperson, the company is looking into the issue, but they apparently hadn’t noticed anything unusual.
While ownership of Google.com was only his for one minute, he’s still surprised that he almost owned the domain. He says he just can’t shake that feeling that he actually owned the prestigious domain, even if it was for a very short time.
Google accidently sold http://t.co/sbbBzSN4tU to a former employee via its own Google Domains service https://t.co/Z9Eytm2Qug
— Stephen Kenwright (@stekenwright) October 1, 2015
Ved has apparently been a great fan of Google, since he worked for them for five-and-a-half years. He reportedly left the company to get his MBA.
According to a report on BGR, this isn’t the first time someone has managed to buy an important tech-related domain. Apparently, Microsoft failed to renew its Hotmail.co.uk domain back in 2003 and someone else managed to grab it. While in Ved’s case it was easy for Google to cancel the sale of their own domain, Microsoft had to ask the buyer of Hotmail.co.uk to return it to them.
[Image: Google logo CC BY 2.0 Robert Scoble – Google Domains Screengrab]