Buying and selling web domains is big business, and like any market, there will be good deals and there will be not-so-good deals.
But a US student recently struck possibly the best deal in domain buying history, by picking up the number one web domain on the Internet for a measly 12 bucks.
Some sort of administrative error on behalf of Google allows Sanmay Ved to purchase the ‘Google.com’ domain using Google’s own registration service after discovering that the Google.com domain was available to purchase.
This error could have theoretically given Ved total control over the domain, where he could have removed any of Google’s own webpages and replaced them with his own. Needless to say, if he had put a few adverts on the most popular web domain in the world (may be not Google ads though) he would probably have been very rich within only a few hours.
Turns out he didn’t get the chance, since within about a minute Google noticed the error, and reversed the transaction. Since Google were the registration service used by Ved to buy their own flagship domain from them, they were able to cancel it and take back control of the domain. Lucky for Google.
It’s a frank reminder to all those website owners that it is your responsibility to ensure your domain gets renewed. If you don’t, and your domain gets put back onto the market by a third party registration company (which it will do unless you happen to own your own domain registration company) then anyone can buy it and there is little you can do about that other than grovel to the new owner to return registration back to you! (This actually happened to Microsoft back in 2003 with the UK Hotmail domain, luckily the new owner was happy to return the domain back.)
As for Sanmay Ved, Google gave him an undisclosed cash reward since he technically found a bug. He instructed Google to give it to charity since, according to his blog post, he didn’t do it for the money. Google duly doubled the reward and gave the money to charity.
Well he may be no richer for the experience, but he does get to say he owned Google.com for a minute or so, and that’s a pretty big claim to fame in techy circles.
Read about his story here on his LinkedIn page.