Ex-Employee Buys 'Google.com' for $12 — Then Google Contacts Him

February 13, 2018

Ex-Google employee, Sanmay Ved, recently purchased Google.com, but for just one minute until Google contacted him.

Recently, there was an administrative error within Google that Ved stumbled upon early one morning (1:20 a.m. to be exact). To his surprise, Google.com was up for sale and just for $12.

Ved, a very tech-savvy individual, was doing some light reading about the Google Domains interface and how it worked. He typed in Google.com, and low and behold, it was available to purchase.

He decided to make the purchase, and sure enough, Google.com was now owned by Sanmay Ved.

"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!" Ved wrote on his Linkedin.

"My Google Search Console (aka Google Webmaster Tools) was auto-updated with webmaster-related messages for the Google.com domain which actually means ownership was transferred to me!" he said.

After about a minute, Ved received an email that his purchase had been canceled. He was refunded his $12.

"Google could do this given the registration service used by me (aka Google Domains) belonged to Google," he said.

Ved contacted Google Security and told them about what had happened. Ved said that he has always been a "loyal Googler" and loves the company, so he wanted to point out this vulnerability.

Google reached back out to Ved and offered him a reward in a "very Googley way."

"Our initial financial reward to Sanmay, $6,006.13, spelled out Google, numerically. We then doubled this amount when Sanmay donated his reward to charity," " Google said.

"I don't care about the money, " Ved told Business Insider. "It was never about the money. I also want to set an example that it's people who want to find bugs that it's not always about the money."

When Ved refused the first reward and asked they send it to a charity, Google decided to double the reward and send it to a charity Ved is passionate about: The Art of Living India.

"Art of Living's education program which runs 404 free schools across 18 states of India, providing free education to more than 39,200 children in the slum, tribal and rural belts where child labor and poverty are widespread," Ved wrote.

Even though it was just for 60 seconds, Ved can now add "Owner of Google.com" to his resume. At least it would make for a good conversation during his next job interview. Ved voluntarily quit Google to pursue his MBA. He was with Google for over five years.

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