The man who bought Google for $12

The man who bought Google for $12 pixelwork

The man who bought Google for $12

Something strange happened at 1:20 am Eastern Time on Tuesday, September 29 as I was learning more about the Google Domains interface, and typed and clicked on Search Domains. For my surprise, was showing as available!



I clicked the add to cart icon next to the domain (which should not appear if the domain is not available for sale). The domain actually got added to the cart as seen by the check-in, green, and the domain appeared in my cart.


I was hoping I would get an error at some point saying invalid transaction, but I was able to complete the purchase, and my credit card was charged!


As soon as I completed the purchase, I received two emails, one from, and one from, which is not the norm when reserving domains through Google Domains as when I have purchased new previously unregistered domains, and I have never received emails from the aliases previously upon purchasing the domains. I will not share the content of the emails here since they relate to the domain. The domain also successfully appeared in my Google Domains order history.

Also, my Google Console (aka Google Webmaster Tools) search was -updated with a related webmaster message for the domain which actually means that ownership was transferred to me! One has the following messages in the search console only for those domains for which one is the verified administrator/owner (of course access was removed when the domain was taken back by Google).

webmaster tools

Additionally, I started receiving notifications when the owner changed (along with new owner details, etc.) in the Google Search Console for websites (I'm not going to name them) that are powered by Google Sites (which makes sense since The websites are powered by Google Sites on the main domain It is evident that the property had been granted to me. The order was successful.

Although the purchase had been successful, and the domain now belonged to me as evident above, the purchase was followed by an order cancellation email from Google Domains. Google was able to do this given the registration service used by me (aka Google Domains) which belonged to Google, unlike the 2003 case where Microsoft forgot to renew your domain Hotmail UK, which is registered with Nominet UK. As a result, the Hotmail UK domain was returned to the open market for selection by anyone.

Someone else took it, and since Microsoft was not the registrar, Microsoft was not able to cancel the order, and automatically take back the domain. In my case, I don't know what caused Google to lose ownership of the domain as a result of which it was available on the open market.


The purchase was complete and the card was charged (which wouldn't have happened unless you actually successfully completed the transaction, otherwise you would have received an error). The charge was not a pre-authorized one.


The order history page auto-updated with a new message.


The visit of the Indian Prime Minister to Facebook and Google to promote a digital India worked wonders. The day after his visit, he ended up convincing Google to sell what is perhaps his most prized possession to a person hailing from the small town of Mandvi in ​​the Kutch region of the home state of the Prime Minister of India... if only for a minute or so :) or maybe because I love Google at heart, and because I've always been a loyal Googler and Xoogler, reporting several vulnerabilities in the past that had gone unnoticed, some divine force decided to give me ownership for a minute more or less :).

Note: I have reported the incident to Google Security. Google has responded, acknowledged the incident, and is investigating the incident.

Updated Thursday, October 8: Google Security has now contacted me and has offered me a $x reward in a very Googley way. I wrote and told them that it was never about the money, and asked that the money be donated to the Art of Living India Foundation charity. They responded and have stated that they understand and respect the fact that this was not about getting a reward. Although, given what they found, and how this problem was solved, they are “excited” to offer me a reward.

At my request, they will donate the reward (which they doubled, since it now goes to charity) for the Art of Living India Foundation. I have chosen that the donation will be made towards the Art of Life education program which runs 404 free schools across 18 states of India, providing free education to more than 39,200 children from slums, tribal and rural belts where child labor and poverty are widespread. Schools nourish children completely, including body, mind and spirit.

This was the story of man who bought Google for $12, I hope you liked it.

Source: LinkedIn