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Own Google.com for 1 minute, get paid $12,000

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Sanmay Ved received more than $12,000 for pointing out the bug that allowed him to buy, for one minute, Google.com.Joanne Rathe

The Babson MBA student who "owned" the Internet domain Google.com for one minute received thousands of dollars for his troubles from the Silicon Valley giant.

Last fall, Sanmay Ved thought he bought the world's most heavily trafficked site for $12, after playing around with a website registration service called Google Domains.

He was amazed when his order was verified, his credit card charged, and a confirmation e-mail sent.

It was a short-lived triumph. One minute later, another e-mail, telling him his order had been canceled, popped into his inbox.

Now, Google, through a posting on its online security blog, has revealed the company gave Ved more than $12,000 for pointing out the bug that allowed him to buy the site.


Google had initially given Ved $6,006.13, which is "Google" spelled out numerically (the company recommends squinting if you can't see it). The company then doubled the amount after finding out Ved had donated the initial reward to charity.

It's not unheard of for the company to reward external researchers who find problems with Google's services through the company's vulnerability reward program.