Small Biz

Google tests domain-name purchasing service, freaking out competitors

Google (fisheye)

Small businesses are slowly but surely learning the importance of a web presence, be it a social media account, a professional email address, or a domain name. Research from Google shows, though, that 55 percent of small businesses still don’t have their own URL.

A website’s domain name is its identity, and with Google Domains, small businesses will be able to purchase their own domains with just the click of a few buttons.

The service is still in invite-only beta, so you currently need an invitation code to join Google Domains, but Google is looking to made the service more widely available soon.

Google Domain will rival GoDaddy, the world’s current largest domain name registrar, boasting more than 57 million domain names. Meanwhile Web.com, which sells domain names, watched the price of its stock plummet today.

Google’s service offers selected businesses the ability to search, purchase, and transfer their own domain names. Businesses will be able to choose from a wide range of available URLs, from .com, .org, and .biz to .guru and .photography for a more personal touch. Google Domains’ addition of these personal URLs come after a move by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) that created 1,400 new top-level domains, including .club, .reviews, .rentals, and more.

Google Domains is asking that these small businesses give as much feedback as possible so Google can improve the experience for future growth.

Google has enlisted the help of some of the biggest website building providers — including Squarespace, Shopify, Wix.com, and Weebly — to provided additional services, like hosting services, mobile website creation tools, and domain management support, to Google Domain businesses.

With Google Domain, according to the website, small businesses will have access to the following:

  • No cost for private registration, so Google covers the cost of keeping your name, address, and other information private
  • Branded emails, with an ability to create 100 emails with your domain name (you@yourcompany.com) and forward them to existing Gmail accounts
  • Easy domain forwarding, so you can point your domain name to a website that already exists
  • Unique customizable sub-domain pages within your new site such as blog.yourcompany.com
  • Secure, reliable Internet infrastructure from Google, so you’ll use the same fast DNS servers as Google and experience quick links between the domain and its websites
  • Simple domain management tools, like domain locking, adding and managing resource records, and configuring TTL
  • Easy integration with top website builders, including features such as customizable templates and mobile site-management
  • New domain endings like .photography, with an increase in these kinds of domain endings coming in the future
  • Phone and email support whenever you need it, Monday – Friday, 9 – 5.

There is no documented price for Google Domains, but the site shows a photo where a subscription costs $12, while GoDaddy gives you a .com domain for $8. You can apply for an invite code.

More information:

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

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