Domain turf wars – Google launches invite-only web registration site

Tishin Donkersley, M.A. & Carlene Reyes, AZTB
After seemingly gobbling up everything in its sight, Google had yet to get its hands on one service: domain name registration. But now, Google is quietly, but most certainly, invading the GoDaddy dominant territory with the launch of Google Domains.
While this beta site might be a surprise to some, Google seems to have been planning this for a while now.
Back in 2012, CNET reported that Google had applied for 100+ gTLDs (generic top-level domains) that totaled $18.7 million in application fees. According to ICANN, Google registered for the extensions under the name Charleston Road Registry, a company under Google that manages their gTLDs. Users will too soon be able to have crazy extensions such as .LOL, .WOW, and .DOG.
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According to their beta site, Google will only be in charge of the domain registration side of things. If you want to build a website, they’ve partnered with Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly and Wix to get it done.
Similar to the G+ launch, the domain site is invite-only and they are only telling the public about the features to come:
-Private registration is free. Google will cover the cost of keeping user details private when switching private registration. This means keeping your name and contact information under wraps.
-Lots of email subdomains. Users can have up to 100 email aliases with their domain which can be forwarded to existing email accounts.
-Phone support. A rarity for Google products, users will get support by both email and phone Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 9p.m. EST.
-Funky domain endings and some techie ones too.
-Free domain forwarding. Users can steer their domain to an existing domain and website.
-Access to simple domain management tools. For example, Google Synthetic Records can be used with Google App Engine, subdomain forwarding and Google Apps setup.
-Secure Internet infrastructure. When users manage a domain with Google, they’ll get to use the same DNS (domain name system) servers as Google. This means reliable and quick connection.
Although a full pricing listing isn’t available, registration starts at $12 a year.
Google, so far, isn’t offering 24/7 support, website building, and customers would need to go through third parties for specialized services. Google continues to list GoDaddy as their domain partner for its customers-for now at least.
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How does GoDaddy feel about their “domain partner” inching into their space, Mike McLaughlin, SVP & GM, Domains told AZTB, “We have worked with Google over the years and they continue to be a valuable partner of ours. In our view, the world’s domain name is thriving right now. The new gTLDs are creating more interest, opening up more personalized names and more choice for all users. GoDaddy’s been in the domain registrar market for more than 15 years. We are quite confident in our ability to serve customers and will remain focused on them.”
While GoDaddy continues to maintain a hawk’s-eye out on this partner, their experience and full menu of products continues to differentiate them from competitors. “While we always keep an eye on changing market dynamics,” McLaughlin adds, “we believe our deep experience, our integrated product offering and our unique ability to serve our customers with more than 2,900 customer care representatives will continue to offer the best and most differentiated service for our customers.”
Currently AZ homegrown company GoDaddy is the king of domain services and web registration with 57 million domains. The company plans to have a market presence in 60 markets and 30 languages, and earlier this month announced a $100M IPO. Also, they have been gobbling up companies such as Ronin, Afernic and Media Tempe, launching new products such as GetFound, and revamping their whole vibe with “It’s Go Time,” all to help small businesses. Even CEO Blake Irving was clear with his message that he is “hell-bent on helping small businesses.”
Will Google just be another competitor, entice users away with their brand, or just take a piece of the pie? Share your thoughts below on AZTB.
Read more coverage on GoDaddy’s acquisitions, gTLDs and IPO here.
Contributions by CNET and Google Domain
 Photos courtesy of Google Domain and GoDaddy