Imagine owning one of the most valuable domains on the Internet. Now imagine purchasing that domain for only $12.
Google.com was mistakenly sold to former Google-employee, Sanmay Ved, when he found the site on a list of domains available for sale. Ved discovered the sale and bought Google.com out of curiosity. He charged the fee of $12 to his Discover card, expecting to encounter an error. He was surprised to find that the transaction went through and the ownership of the search site was transferred. “I thought at some point in time it would block me out, but I wanted to see how far it would go,” he said. But within about a minute, the purchase had been canceled and Ved’s money was refunded.
Ved immediately informed Google’s security team that the company’s domain was mistakenly listed for sale. Google often rewards people who discover security flaws and report them to the company and offered Ved $6006.13, which is the numerical representation of the word Google. Ved wrote back to Google, saying “it was never about the money,” and asked that the money be donated to charity to a charity of his choice. Because of Ved’s request, Google decided to double their offer and donate $12012.26 to the Art of Living India Foundation, which establishes free schools in areas of India that are poverty-stricken and have high rates of child labor.
A business only exists in the context of its society and can only be understood in relation to its surroundings. As proved by Google’s charitable acts, the company exhibits the stakeholder theory of a firm, which argues that a corporation serves a broader purpose to create value for society. Google makes a profit for owners to survive, but also creates other kinds of value.
Google has been a socially responsible corporation in various ways. Since its founding, Google has been firmly committed to active philanthropy and to addressing global challenges, such as climate change, education and poverty alleviation. Since 2007, Google has also jump-started a series of social initiatives in China. By leveraging the company’s own strengths and resources in the U.S., it raises awareness of the importance of corporate philanthropy, and encourages society to participate in and contribute to the development of social responsibility.
Google takes interest in its stakeholders and allows for others to benefit through its business practices. Donating twice the amount of its original offer to charity not only benefits the organization receiving the funds, but also gives Google a good name and benefits their company.