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Shakeup coming as Google becomes a registrar, sells names at $12 with free privacy and email

Kevin Murphy, June 23, 2014, 18:52:29 (UTC), Domain Registrars

Google has announced its first foray into the domain name registrar business with Google Domains.

The company tells me that the upcoming service will allow customers to buy or transfer domains for $12 a year.

Privacy protection, up to 100 email addresses and up to 100 subdomains — things existing leading registrars charge extra for — will be included at no additional cost.

Right now, the service is in an invitation-only beta. The first beta users are not expected to get access for a couple of weeks and the beta will likely last a couple of months.

Google says it wants to make domain registration a “simple and transparent experience”.

It’s not entirely clear which TLDs will be supported at first — .com, .net and .eu seem to be three of them — but the company plans to support “many” new gTLDs in future.

The service is unfinished, according to the company, but beta users will be able to buy and transfer domain names.

They’ll also be able to use web site creation tools supplied by the likes of Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and Shopify, which will carry an additional cost.

The $12 a year fee is comparable to market-leader Go Daddy’s annual rate for a .com, but Go Daddy charges about $8 extra per year for privacy and about $5 a month for email.

Google joins the likes of Minds + Machines and Uniregistry as new gTLD registries that have made the move into the registrar side of the business, hoping to bring a fresh approach to the market.

Google has actually been accredited by ICANN as a registrar for years — over a decade if memory serves — but to date has never used its accreditation to sell domains.

With its Google Apps service, the company refers domain buyers to Go Daddy and eNom. While there’s no confirmation from Google yet, I suspect those relationships may be in jeopardy in future.

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Comments (30)

  1. DonnyM says:

    I have been saying this for past 2 years. Now it as it gets more near watch google offer domains for hardly anything in the new extensions. On top of that names will go for under 10 bucks with free everything added to it.

    This just puts another nail in the coffin for the other guys. Google has the money to market new domains, the other guys don’t. Its that simple.

    Now watch very soon for your promotions box to get a free transfer for your domain name. That is what I would do. It’s pretty easy 400 million accounts and one email sent to your promotions box would get most peoples attention.

    IMO Godaddy will become godown over next 5 years. “You can’t compete against Free services”

    It’s all about the services and what they can offer. Do any of these other extensions offer anything else for free.. NOPE.

    • Exactly. Google better start offering competitive promo codes for registering and transferring so they’re truly competing with GD on every level. No doubt Google will do everything 100 times better than Go Daddy. Go Daddy is ripping us off, overcharging, abusing their power, wasting our time looking for promo codes that work when they could so easily make more or better yet make ones that can be used over and over. They play games with us with the codes!!! They’re becoming the fat cats of the internet. They suck!

  2. Frank Schilling says:

    I think Google will be wildly successful because of their distribution reach (should they choose to bring it to bear, as they did with Chrome), and their ancillary services such as Gmail, apps etc. I liken this phase to the rebuilding of Paris by Napoleon. Old dogmas, distribution, registrars and boulevards will fall, new ones will rise from the ashes and only the best will survive. Domain Names and registrants of all stripe and colour will be the beneficiary, as new life and utility get breathed into the fundamental building blocks and real estate of the Web. This move by Google reaffirms Uniregistry’s vision and plans. We look forward to other innovations by the likes of Amazon, future entrants such as Facebook, Yahoo and to continued innovation for the benefit of registrants Worldwide. This is one of the most exciting times in naming, ever :-) I can’t wait to see what the domain name spectrum looks like in 10 years.

  3. Ondřej Surý says:

    DNSSEC Support?

  4. Rahul says:

    Domain registrars will present a brave face. However they know game is over.

  5. This is an extreme development.

    This is a precursor to an apparition; a phantom internet nomenclature wraith!

    Make no mistake about it, the Registrars should see this as a specter; as a threat; as a menace; as a shadow; and with no pun intended, as a cloud! A dark cloud.

    The rabbit does not run about in the day for nothing. Something must be chasing it.

    Google’s entry into this space has nothing to do with new gTLDs.

    Here’s a caution for Registrars, legacy, as well as the new: place Google against a dim light, and a light background; the dark shape and outline you see, it’s silhouette, is the closest you can discern from Google’s intent, profile, form, shape, figure, shadow, and real mission.

    Don’t assume that by applying for new GTLDs you’ve got an ally.

    • Acro says:

      Please retype this without being under the influence of having watched Lord of the Rings or some other epic movie with pompous gibberish.

      • @Acro,

        Very well.

        The much taunted Charleston Road Registry by new gTLD Registries was just a head fake by Google. There doesn’t seem to be any mention of that venture in this surprise.

        Expect something bigger. This is a mere precursor.

      • @Acro,

        According to Google Domains, the following are some of the features, notice the heavy emphasis on dot coms in the examples:

        “Here’s what you get

        Every domain you buy or transfer to Google will include helpful features to make getting online easy and managing your domains simple.

        No additional cost for private registration

        When you purchase or transfer a domain name, private registration is almost always an option (some domain endings do not support this feature). If private registration is selected, we cover the cost of keeping your details private (e.g. your name, address and other contact information).

        More
        Branded emails

        Create up to 100 email aliases with your domain, such as help@your_company.com or sales@your_company.com, and have them forwarded to existing email accounts, like you@gmail.com. This way, your email is a professional reflection of your business.

        More
        Easy domain forwarding

        Point your domain name to an existing domain and website. This feature can be used to drive users to one location. An example would be forwarding http://www.example.net to http://www.example.com.

        More
        Customizable sub-domains

        Customize your domain with up to 100 sub-domains, such as blog.example.com and shop.example.com. This will allow you to create unique pages within your website.

        More
        Fast, secure and reliable Internet infrastructure with Google

        Every time you visit a website, your computer performs what’s called a “DNS lookup”. When you manage a domain with us, you get to use the same DNS servers as Google. This means your domain will connect quickly and reliably to your website. We include 10 million resolutions per year for each domain you register with Google Domains.

        More
        Simple domain management tools

        A full set of simple-to-use, robust domain management tools are at your disposal:

        Add and manage resource records: A, AAAA, CNAME, MX, NS, PTR, SOA, SPF, SRV, TXT
        Use Google Synthetic Records for integration with Google App Engine, subdomain forwarding and Google Apps setup
        Add and manage name servers
        Configure TTL
        Domain locking
        More …”

    • Google will do everything 100 times better than GD obviously. Don’t know what took them so long. Did it just dawn them after 15 years oh we should do domains. That might have some synergies with what we do. Jeez. But kick Go Daddy’s ass! They better have competitive promo codes for registering and transferring is my one concern. Keep it real. That’s a no-brainer to compete with GD.

  6. William says:

    It’s hard for me to be against anything that is bad for GoDaddy. That said, I wouldn’t trust Google with my names.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      Google has being targeting the single domain owner space, so if you have names (plural), you already off-target for them.

  7. Michael says:

    Perhaps, Panda 99.0 algo update will include domains registered with the Big G will improve one’s indexing :-)

  8. Just 2 words…..
    Game Changer!
    This will shake things up to the core on multiple fronts.

    Other registrars better offer what Google is about to do or they are going to be wiped out overnight. (meaning they will see and feel the pain in pretty short order) The exodus will be noticeable and within 3 years there will be an entirely new landscape.

    • Take down Go Daddy! They’re abusing their power and ripping us off left and right. Overcharging for renewing and privacy and a whole bunch of other stuff. Google better have competitive promo codes for registering and transferring or then it isn’t real competition. Don’t know what took them so long! Just lazy. It was a no-brainer. They obviously have the ability to do everything 100 times better than Go Daddy. If they don’t it will be because they didn’t put real effort into it and didn’t try to compete. I know Google is better than that.

    • Phil Buckingham says:

      Rick,

      Agreed. Game changer and complete shake up.

      Registrars are still playing the “22 “old .com game. They simply cant offer/ distribute 600 generics going forward and will need to acquire to control selective TLDs to survive.

      IMO Google arrival can only be good – driving down the price and cutting into those high margin registrar

      • Kevin Murphy says:

        Google’s price is roughly the same as Go Daddy charges, and it’s significantly more expensive than Name.com and NameCheap.com, to name but two.

  9. Don Edmands says:

    They need to rebrand as GoogleAllofIt.com. It is interesting that if you lined up Godaddy and Google like a drag race what would happen? I mean Godaddy.com is runnin’ roughly 1250 horse on pump gas…everyone knows better to race but this new kid with the electric car…wow…can it be that fast? I personally don’t want Google on my cornflakes….their already in my breakfast, lunch, dinner AND midnight snack…wonder what their expired auction platform will look like…what’s funny is will there be a banner on the main page touting “any domain works” you just need content….

  10. With little humor :
    GD was leading upto now,
    now GD ( Google Domains ) will lead. So no Big Change.

  11. Hazel says:

    This is very exiting. I have already added a request for the invite. $12 and free privacy is very cool. I’d start with transferring few of my domains to Google and see how it goes.

  12. What will happen when they offer their clients better positioning within the google results? This is just the beginning!

  13. Posted this on the other post. Didn’t see this main one.

    Props to Google for innovating again! But one thing I will call Google on is what took so long to make a full-fledged registrar service? They’ve had the ICANN acceditation for ages. That was just lazy guys.

    But take down those greedy Go Daddy‬ bastards! They’ll have free privacy service for your ‪domains.‬ Privacy is the biggest rip-off in domains. Go Daddy makes a killing on that! It’s highway robbery. Costs them nothing. And now they’ve been limiting the registration promo codes. It’s a joke. How much time have I wasted trying to find promo codes that work? TONS! Searching like 5 different sites to find one I haven’t used before that still works. ***Google, make sure you guys have competitive promo codes for registration AND transferring so we can transfer away from Go Daddy.*** Namecheap now has like $8 codes to transfer away from GD. Match that Google. More competition is exactly what’s needed in the industry. GD is abusing their power and taking advantage of us, They’ve even upped the renewal prices and cut back on the renewal code discounts. Totally uncalled for. That’s just greedy It’s like they’re slowly getting greedier and greedier. They ain’t hurting for profits. Someone needs to hold them accountable! Take them down Google and make them compete and lower their prices. There is NO competition in the domain industry. Go Daddy sucks!

  14. kd says:

    Like someone else said, Google is probably focusing on single domain ownership. I highly doubt it will have bulk tools that some of the newest registrars have. And the low prices. So if you are in the domain industry, and have more than 100 domains, I’m pretty sure you are better off at your current registrar that allows domain management in bulk and with ease.

  15. Google has a serious lack of retail facing registrar/hosting expertise. The waffle about “Knowledge Graphs” and such cluelessness won’t cut it against operators like Godaddy and the other large players. And that’s just the US market. The country level markets are typically dominated by the top ten players in each of those markets. Many of those are ccTLD positive (they host more of the local ccTLD than gTLDs) in terms of registrations. While Google has been making a very slight impact in the bargain end of these markets with its website and services hosting, it is not considered a significant player in any country level hosting market.

  16. Richard Hearne says:

    I give this 2-3 years before they pull the plug. Google has a horrible track record of handling customer support, and I reckon this will be more of the same.

    From the looks of their positioning they’re going after less tech-savy customers, and these are the people who need most hand-holding. That’s something Google is really terrible at.

    The other issue will be privacy, and what data Google collects/uses from this product. Generally Google does nothing without an advertising angle, and this should be no different.

    Comments about ranking higher etc. are just plain daft.

  17. David Carter says:

    A welcome entry in my opinion.

    If Google, the most visited and well known online name begins promoting domain names, then people who have previously been unexposed will begin to realise how easy they are to register.

    Just because we know all about domains, don’t assume that everyone does – I know tons of people who have never owned a single domain name and wouldn’t have the first idea about registering one.

    If they are aiming at the single domain owner, that’s a welcome entry into a stale market that has forgotten how to treat its customers.

    Google isn’t a threat to complacent registrars, because those guys have been their own worst enemy for years.

  18. Frank Schilling says:

    Agree with David Carter.. All boats rising here.

    • I’ve been mapping all com/net/org/biz/info/mobi/asia sites to their respective IP range owners and Google is an iceberg when it comes to website hosting and hosted domains. If it could leverage that into domain name registrations it could easily outstrip some of the smaller gTLD registrars. The real battle isn’t going to be registrar versus registrar. It is going to be Google versus the other registrars and webhosters.

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