As experts in online brand protection, Lexsynergy thought it would be interesting to look at some famous cases in which domains have lapsed, what happened and what we might have advised the client.

Back in 2015, student and ex-Google employee Sanmay Ved was idly scrolling through domain names on Google Domains when he noticed that google.com was available, assuming this must be a mistake, he thought he'd try register it.

The time a student owned google.com

To his surprise “The domain actually got added to my cart as seen by the green check-box, and the domain appeared in my cart.” said Sanmay “ I was hoping I would get an error at sometime saying transaction did not go through, but I was able to complete purchase, and my credit card was actually charged!”

Sure enough, for the price of just $12, Sanmay had managed to purchase the world’s most visited and valuable domain. His Google webmaster tools were updated with messages for Google.com. He also started to receive notifications for numerous websites, which were powered by Google Sites.

Sanmay’s ownership of Google was short lived though, just a minute or so later Google identified the mistake, cancelled the purchase and had the money refunded. Google was able to regain the domain as they acted also the registrar. Sanmay was rewarded for finding this flaw with a payment of $6,006.13 (which vaguely looks like the word Google if you hold a mirror to it!), which was doubled when Sanmay announced that he intended to donate his money to the charity, Art of Living India foundation.

What would lexsynergy advise?

“This is a story with a happy ending  and Sanmay has a good dinner story.” jokes Robert White, Brand Protection Manager. “Google were able to react quickly and recover the domain because as they acted as the registrar but other brands do not have this luxury. If you unwittingly allow a domain to lapse, other parties will be able to re-register it.”

“Many people might wonder if Sanmay had any legal claim to the domain due to his proof of purchase issued by Google themselves. The fact that he was able to buy that domain was purely based on an error, the domain was not up for sale and had not lapsed, so Google still has control of the domain and did not relinquish any rights. If he was able to transfer it away it would have interrupted Google operations but they would have legal recourse based on their extensive trade mark rights.

Google did exactly the right thing by recovering the domain quickly and rewarding Sanmay for finding the fault, but obviously it was embarrassing when security is a primary concern. Would you trust Google with your domain if they cannot even secure their own?”

Lexsynergy helps major global brands to secure their online brand in the domain space and enforcement their rights against online criminals and squatters. Contact us today to find out more. info@lexsynergy.com