Former employee buys Google for $12 for one minute, and receives massive payout
Easy come, easy go, as the old adage goes. But sometimes, such platitudes just don't seem to do the issue at hand justice. Case in point: a former Google employee was able to purchase the American multinational technology company's domain for one minute, for just $12. Yes, for 60 whole seconds Sanmay Ved literally had the internet at his fingertips, and as could be expected, the forces at Silicon Valley were rather flustered.
Now, while this happened two years ago, it remains quite the tale - and after doing a little research, it's apparent that a similar feat has never occurred since. So let's see how it happened...
In the autumn of 2015, ex-Google employee, Sanmay Ved, was having a browse through the internet, trying to learn more about the Google domain's interface. Users of the site can search for domain names and buy them if they're available. A green smiley face means that the name is able to be purchased, while a grey frown face denotes the opposite.
Out of curiosity, and not expecting anything to come of it, Sanmay typed in "Google.com", and was surprised to see the green smiley face pop up. Naturally, he decided to test his luck and added the domain into his shopping cart. Now, let's pause here to let it sink in; Sanmay was able to purchase Google.com, only the world's biggest search engine, for a whopping $12 per year.
"I was hoping I would get an error at sometime saying transaction did not go through, but I was able to complete purchase, and my credit card was actually charged!" Samnay wrote on Linkedin. And certainly, after he checked out, his dashboard was immediately updated with messages for the new owner of the Google domain. "Quite clearly, ownership had been granted to me. Order was successful," he added.
While it was certainly successful, it was also rather short-lived. Just one minute later, Samnay received a notification saying that he had been refunded his $12, and a message from the Google Domain's team informing him that his ownership had been rescinded.
As a former employee of Google, and an avid user of the website, Samnay felt obliged to report the incident to Google's security team. And as a reward for his due diligence in reporting the error, Google HQ offered him a cash reward in the amount of $6,006.13.
Samnay then asked that the money be donated to a charity he supports, Art of Living India, which is committed to providing education to tens of thousands of at-risk youth who reside in impoverished areas of the country. Touched by Samnay's gesture, Google's security team decided to up the reward to $12,000.
Samnay then added, "In the interest of protecting Google, I do not wish to discuss the particulars of their final finding, and the reward amount."
"It was never about the money," he later stated. "I also want to set an example about people who want to find bugs that it’s not always about the money."
While it's certainly heartwarming to hear that Samnay didn't care about all the money he could have potentially accrued as the new owner of Google.com, it must have felt great to know that you have the whole of the internet at your bidding, for 60 seconds at least.