Welcome to another edition of our Famous Bugs series! In this post, we’ll cover the Google bug that outsmarted one of the smartest companies on the planet.
It’s no secret that google.com is the most valuable domain in the world. For one minute in September of 2015, it belonged to one lucky man named Sanmay Ved. Ved, who happens to be an ex-Googler, was browsing Google Domains, which is Google’s website buying service, and noticed that the domain was up for sale. A green happy face next to the domain name appeared, indicating that it was available, and Ved continued with the purchase. It took a mere 12 dollars to buy the most trafficked domain in the history of ever.
However, instead of receiving the standard “you bought a domain” e-mails from the company, his Google Search Console dashboard was overflowed with messages for the Google domain owner. He had access to all webmaster controls, even if it was for just a minute, and he took plenty of screenshots to prove it.
His reign as the owner of Google was not a long one, as Google Domains cancelled the sale within a minute of it happening and provided him with a refund. Most likely, a bug within the Google Domains website allowed this to happen, but luckily for them it didn’t last long.
Google did reward Ved for uncovering this security flaw with a check of $6,000.13 – a number that spells out GOOGLE (look closely). When Ved later announced he would be donating the amount to charity, Google doubled the amount. So at the end of the day, there was a happy ending for all those involved.
LESSON LEARNED: BE SURE TO CLEAN OUT THOSE PRODUCT BUGS! AND DON’T HESITATE TO REACH OUT TO US IF ANY BUGS ARE GETTING THE BEST OF YOU!