Google sunsets Domains business and shovels it off to Squarespace

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From The Verge:

Google Domains has been a quick and easy place to buy a dot com (or dot net, or dot studio, even) for your cottage bakery — but the company is now giving up on the registrar business and selling the assets to Squarespace. The deal includes handing off 10 million domains owned by Google customers to the popular website builder.

In a press statement, Google’s VP and GM of merchant shopping, Matt Madrigal, says the sale is an effort to “sharpen our focus” and that the company plans on “supporting a smooth transition” for its customers being handed off to Squarespace. Madrigal then assures customers that Squarespace, which already has its own domain management plus web building tools, would be the perfect home for customers’ websites. Google Domains first became available as a beta in 2014 and finally came out of beta just last year.

The “definitive agreement” between Google and Squarespace includes assurances that customers will get the same renewal prices available to them for the next 12 months. Plus, Squarespace agrees to provide “incentives” for customers to build their website with the company’s platform.

For some users, especially those who only hold their domain at Google for convenience’s sake (and point it to their hosted website elsewhere), Squarespace may not be adding any value. And as it stands: Squarespace’s domain purchasing process, by design, assumes you’re also building a website from scratch on the company’s platform.

Additionally, customers planning to subscribe to Google’s Workspace enterprise platform and who want to easily buy a domain within that process, too, will now be registering it through Squarespace by default. But if the customer would like to buy the domain elsewhere, they can do that and then link it back to Workspace later.

The deal makes Squarespace the exclusive domain provider for Workspace customers buying domains directly through Google, at least for the next three years. For those who already subscribe to Workspace, and have purchased domains through Google, Squarespace will also be taking over those customers’ domain billing and support services.

. . . .

Google Domains is yet another service the company is sending to the graveyard, at least internally. The company recently shut down Currents, which was a Google Plus offshoot for enterprise. And Google’s cloud gaming platform, Stadia, was also a recent loss.

Link to the rest at The Verge

4 Things Google Domains Customers Need to Know About the Sale to Squarespace

From Tech Republic:

You’ll have a different domain registration vendor

Former Google Domains customers will become Squarespace customers; these customers will need to sign in to Squarespace to modify, add or otherwise manage registered domain name system records. All future domain name renewals will be done through Squarespace.

Domain registration pricing will likely change in the long-run

One significant shift in the longer-run will be the possibility of domain name registration price changes. In the initial announcement, Squarespace asserted it would honor renewal pricing for at least a year, which is helpful because Google Domains tended to offer an excellent value for the price.

Expect fewer partnerships and more promotions

Google Domains made it easy to add and configure Google properties such as Google Workspace, Sites, Blogger or Firebase and also offered streamlined setup with partners that included Squarespace, Shopify, Bluehost, Wix and Weebly. Once Google Domains’ domain registrations are transferred to Squarespace, few of these partner promotions will likely remain; however, per the announcements, streamlined setup of Google Workspace from Squarespace domains will continue. Customers of Squarespace domains might anticipate more promotion of Squarespace website creation tools.

You may want to explore alternatives

The prudent action might be to do nothing: Wait for the transfer, monitor the situation and evaluate any future price changes when they occur. From what is known now, if Google Domains customers do nothing, then all registrations will transfer to Squarespace and pricing will remain stable for a year.

. . . .

[S]ome Google Domains customers may prefer to go ahead and switch to a different registrar proactively. You would need to select an appropriate registrar and then initiate the domain registration transfer process.

For example, a strong candidate might be a domain name registrar that offers Whois privacy, reasonable pricing, published names/profiles of key leadership and organizational experience as a Google Workspace reseller. Published profiles indicate a certain level of willingness from people to accept responsibility for their business actions, while experience with Workspace reselling increases the chance that support teams are familiar with Google’s systems. To that, you might also prefer an easy-to-configure DNSSEC option, as mentioned above. Namecheap.com meets all of these criteria and is worth a look for alternatives.

Link to the rest at Tech Republic

PG suspects he’s not the only person who bought some domains through Google figuring that he wouldn’t have to go through the hassle he had when he had to transfer domains from other internet service providers/domain parking places that went out of business or looked like they might have become a little shady or short on cash. It’s been so long that PG can’t remember the details of the domain transfer hassles, just that he experienced more than a few.

PG has already come across promotions from other website hosting providers targeted at those who have purchased domains through Google.

2 thoughts on “Google sunsets Domains business and shovels it off to Squarespace”

  1. Thanks for the info, D.

    I haven’t transferred domains for a long time. It used to be more cumbersome than you describe. I hadn’t thought about Namecheap for a very long time.

  2. Transferring shouldn’t be hard. I use Namecheap for my working domains (aka, public facing websites) and Porkbun for parked domains (cheaper). Transferring between them takes minutes. Haven’t used Google Domains but it shouldn’t be bad.

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