It happened a few years ago! Google forgot to renew and the name was snapped up by a student who paid $12.00 for it. He initially thought the listing was an error, but was surprised when his payment went through and he got a confirmation email saying he was now the owner of the world’s most-visited domain.
He owned it for a minute, and the reports say that he ‘even had access to the inner workings of the site’ though I don’t how that can be possible.
He actually bought it through Google domains who had listed it as available, and received an email congratulating him on now owning the worlds most visited domain! Google apparently paid him a fee that looks like Google 6006.13, but when they learned he was donating it to charity, they doubled it!
Google regularly gives financial rewards to computer researchers who alert them to bugs or errors in their services – in the blog post, they revealed that they paid out over $2 million (£1.4 million) to more than 300 security tipsters in 2015 alone.
Researcher Tomasz Bojarski was the most prolific bug-finder of 2015, spotting 70 bugs in Google throughout the year. One of these bugs, ironically, was found in the web form where users can report security flaws.