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Owning a part of Google, if only for a minute, has its benefits.
The search giant revealed Thursday that it gave more than $12,000 in reward money to Sanmay Ved, an MBA candidate at Babson College who discovered an online error that allowed him to buy the google.com domain for about a minute.
Google initially offered Ved $6,006.13 (that's a rough numerical spelling of “Google,” if you use some imagination) under its Vulnerability Reward Program for bringing the bug to its attention. The company then doubled the amount upon learning that Ved was donating the reward to charity. (Ved requested that all the reward money go to the Art of Living India foundation.)
Ved, who once worked for Google, explained in a post on his LinkedIn account in September how he stumbled onto his one minute of entrepreneurial fame. He said he was up late one night exploring the Google Domains interface when, to his utter surprise, he saw that Google.com was listed as available.
Ved paid $12 for the domain with his credit card, the transaction went through, and he received email notification that he was the proud new owner of the domain. But just as quickly, that was followed by an order cancellation email from Google Domains.
Ved said he didn’t know what caused Google to lose control of the domain ever so briefly. He said he reported the incident to Google Security, which eventually led to the reward money.
Google didn't offer details of the bug that led to the domain snafu.