Internet

This guy bought Google.com for $12

Google.com temporarily had a new owner on Tuesday. Former Googler Sanmay Ved says he successfully purchased the Internet's most visited website for as much as a fancy sandwich.

Former Googler Sanmay Ved says he was able to briefly purchase Google.com on Tuesday. Screenshot by Anthony Domanico/CNET

Anyone who's tried to buy a website recently knows how difficult it is to get a really good .com name. Former Googler Sanmay Ved struck gold Tuesday when he was able to purchase one of the most recognizable domain names on the Internet -- Google.com -- from Google Domains, not for billions or millions or even hundreds of dollars, but just $12.

Ved published a blog post on LinkedIn Pulse on Tuesday outlining the experience, showing proof that his Discover credit card was charged the $12 fee. He also received emails from two automated Google.com email addresses, which he said is further indication of his successful purchase. Ved said he has used Google Domains to purchase and register domain names in the past, and hadn't received emails from those addresses for those purchases.

Ved said he started to get webmaster-related messages intended for the Google.com domain name in his Google Search Console, Google's webmaster toolkit that provides messages and other tools site owners need to maintain their website.

Ved's ownership of Google.com was short-lived, however, he said, as he received a notice a short time later that his order had been cancelled. Google was able to quickly and successfully re-secure Google.com because it owns Google Domains, but it might have been a headache for the company otherwise.

It's unclear exactly what made Ved's purchase possible, but he told CNET's Crave blog that Google is investigating.

Google declined to comment on this story.

This isn't the first such high-profile purchase we've seen. Microsoft had a similar problem in 2003 when it lost the hotmail.co.uk website, though the person who bought it reached out to Microsoft and returned the domain name the same day.

Ved previously held positions at Google as a display specialist and account strategist, according to his LinkedIn profile, which also says he worked in online media sales.

Update, 3:03 p.m. PT: This story has been updated to include additional information from Ved.

Ved's post mentions that Google's Security Team acknowledged the incident in response to a message Ved sent the company after the purchase went through.