A savvy shopper on Google’s website-buying site became the proud owner of the domain for a mere $12, gaining access to the webmaster controls in the process.
Former Google employee Sanmay Ved was browsing Google’s website-buying site and decided to search for “Google.com” to see what would show up in the search results. To his surprise, the domain was available for purchase. As any curious shopper would, Ved added the domain to his shopping cart and proceeded with the purchase.
“The domain actually got added to my cart as seen by the green check-box, and the domain appeared in my cart”
He assumed he would receive an error at some point in the purchase process, but instead found that the purchase completed successfully, according to Metro.
“I was hoping I would get an error at sometime, saying transaction did not go through, but I was able to complete the purchase, and my credit card was actually charged!”
Upon realizing that he actually purchased the Google.com domain directly from Google for a mere $12, he decided to see what he could do with it. Within moments, Ved realized he gained access to the webmaster controls with the successful purchase.
Sanmay Ved is a former employee of Google and admitted to searching the Google site regularly, checking to see if the Google.com domain was for sale. Upon actually purchasing the domain, he was shocked at the access he was provided.
“I used to work at Google so I keep messing around with the product. I type in Google.com and to my surprise it showed it as available. I thought it was some error, but I could actually complete check out.”
Although Ved did not expect the purchase to be legitimate, he was shocked to find that he started receiving internal emails from Google with various levels of information that he knows he should not have received. In addition, when he accessed his Google Search Console dashboard, he found that he had complete control over the webmaster controls, right alongside his own websites.
“The scary part was I had access to the webmaster controls for a minute,”
Realizing that no one would believe a normal guy like himself actually controlled ownership of Google.com, Ved rushed to take screenshots of the ordeal to document it. He shared the photos on Linkedin, according to the Business Insider.
Although Ved was the proud owner of Google.com, his prized purchase lasted for only 60 seconds. He received an email shortly after, reporting that the sale was in error and someone already purchased the domain before he did. He was promptly refunded the $12 he spent on the domain.
It is unknown how the mistake happened on Google’s end or just how much access he was given into the webmaster controls. Google stated that they are looking into the issue and will continue to do so until it is discovered how the mistake happened. It is suspected that Google simply forgot to renew the domain after it expired.
Ved is not the first person to purchase a high-traffic domain. In 2003, an individual realized that Microsoft forgot to renew Hotmail.co.uk and purchased it. In Microsoft’s case, the buyer was asked to return the domain back to them. It is unknown how much money the individual requested to return it.
Ved is still shocked that he actually owned Google.com, even if only for a minute.
“I can’t shake that feeling that I actually owned Google.com,”
Ved did reveal that he reported the incident to Google Security, so they could dig deeper into the issue.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News]