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They Did What?: 

Former employee buys domain for $12


At 1:20AM on Tuesday morning, former Google employee Sanmay Ved owned the domain for the world’s most visited website. He bought for just $12, but his ownership lasted little more than a minute.

Posting on LinkedIn, Ved explains how he was learning about the Google Domains interface when he made a discovery that seemed too good to be true, noticing that the name was listed as available. Excitedly, he added it to his basket and completed the purchase – taking screenshots every step of the way.

What happened next, happened fast.

First came the bemusing realization that the transaction had actually gone through. Immediately after completing the purchase, Ved received the following email informing him that his card had been charged.

Next, Ved began to receive messages and notifications in his Google Webmaster Tools, confirming his ownership of the iconic domain for less than the price of a cinema ticket.

His celebrations didn’t last long, though, as moments later an email from Google informed Ved that the order had been cancelled. Ved’s card was not charged, and was swiftly re-listed as unavailable.

Google was able to easily cancel Ved’s purchase because the transaction was made via the company’s own domain registration service. Although large websites usually set their domains to renew automatically, either it forgot – which seems unlikely – or a bug in the system allowed the name to be sold.

As for Ved, the transaction may not have gone through, but for a brief moment in the early hours of Tuesday morning he owned How many people can say that?

Google Photo via Gil C /

Screenshots via Sanmay Ved / LinkedIn

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