Google.com is ranked the number one website on the planet. It not only garners the most traffic, but Google itself takes in untold billions of dollars. So, it is an incredible tale indeed that one man was able to purchase Google.com for just $12… but had to return it just one minute later.
Business Insider has the story:
Ex-Googler Sanmay Ved was the lucky buyer of “Google.com,” if only for a minute.
Ved told Business Insider that he was up late and searching Google Domains, Google’s website-buying service, when he noticed thatGoogle.com was available.
Instead of a gray sad face that indicates a domain has an owner, the green happy face showed it was available.
The cost to buy the most-trafficked domain in the world? Only $12.
“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,” Ved said. “I thought it was some error, but I could actually complete check out.”
Not only did his purchase process, but he added, “The scary part was I had access to the webmaster controls for a minute.”
One minute later, Google domains canceled his sale and refunded his money.
“So for one minute I had access,” Ved said. “At least I can now say I’m the man who ownedGoogle.com for a minute.”
This isn’t the first time someone has been able to purchase a highly popular site at a cheap rate. In 2003, Bloomberg reported that an unnamed individual purchased the highly popular Microsoft site for Hotmail, after Microsoft failed to renew the domain. Since Ved had purchased the domain directly through Google, the company was able to cancel the purchase and refund the money. However, in Microsoft’s case, the company was shown mercy by the individual and given the domain back at no charge!
I’m thinking the unnamed individual in Microsoft’s case could have probably gotten some sort of thanks in the form of a large check for generously donating back what the company failed to renew.
In the case of Google, one wonders about the ethics of taking the offer and then cancelling it.