Last year, ex-Google employee Sanmay Ved was browsing the Google Domains Interface for research when he spotted something curious: Google.com appeared to be on sale for just $12.
Ved thought that it was perhaps a mistake, but decided to try and buy the domain. Amazingly, the purchase went through, and Google Webmaster Tools showed that Google.com had been transferred under his ownership.
“The Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Facebook and Google to promote a digital India did work wonders,” Ved joked in a post on LinkedIn. “The very next day of his visit, it ended up convincing Google to sell what is perhaps their most prized possession to a person hailing from the small city of Mandvi in the Kutch region of the Indian Prime Minister’s home state.”
A little more than a week after his purchase, Google Security contacted Ved, offering him a then-undisclosed amount for the domain back. Ved said that he would donate the money to charity, specifically the Art of Living India foundation, which runs free schools across India. Googled then doubled the reward money for the donation.
In a blog post on Thursday, Google finally revealed the amount they had initially offered Ved: $6,006.13. If you squint, the numbers spell out “Google.” In the end, for $12, Ved managed to obtain $12,000 for his charity of choice.