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Google Exits Domain Name Registration Business: Squarespace Acquires Google Domains for $180 Million
Google has announced that it is selling its domain name registration business, Google Domains, to website builder Squarespace for $180 million. As part of the deal, Squarespace will become the new domain name registrar for the more than 10.1 million domains already registered with Google Domains by Google’s customers. The acquisition will make Squarespace one of the largest domain name registrars in the world, behind only GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Tucows in total number of registered domain names.
Domains are a critical part of web infrastructure and an essential piece of every business’s online presence. We look forward to serving these new customers as we have served millions using our domain products and are committed to ensuring a seamless transition.
– Squarespace founder and CEO Anthony Casalena
Google Domains only recently emerged from beta in March 2022. The service was launched in 2014, and Google appeared to view the service as a way to boost its business email and app product, Google Workspace, formerly known as G Suite. Paying Google Workspace subscribers can use their own email address with Gmail as part of the service, and Google Domains provided a seamless way for customers to register a domain.
Google Domains often received positive reviews from customers for its simple and focused user interface, which was a stark contrast to some of its competitors who often offer additional services like web hosting and domain name aftermarket sales. However, according to Google, running a domain registrar no longer fits into the company’s plans. While not explicitly mentioned by the company, the domain name registrars are notoriously a low margin business, with companies making very little profit per domain name registered. This is why many registrars offer those previously mentioned additional services.
“In keeping with our efforts to sharpen our focus, we have entered into a definitive agreement with Squarespace for the acquisition of customer accounts of the Google Domains registrar business,” said Google’s VP and General Manager of Merchant Shopping Matt Madrigal. “Supporting a smooth transition for customers over the coming months, with the help of the Google Domains team, is our top priority.”
It’s important to note that Google specifies that it’s selling the Google Domains registrar business, which sells domain name registrations to customers. Google will continue to run Google Registry, its domain name registry which manages top-level domains under Google’s control such as .app, .how, and .dev among others.
According to Squarespace, the company “will honor” current domain name renewal prices for Google Domains current customers for at least 12 months after the close of the acquisition. In addition, Squarespace will become Google’s exclusive domain name provider for Workspace customers for at least three years.
Current domain name customers will remain with Google Domains until the end of the transition period unless, of course, they choose to transfer their domain to another domain name registrar.
What does this mean for Google Domains customers?
If you’re a current customer of Google Domains, you’ll be transferred to Squarespace as part of the acquisition. Squarespace has promised to honor current domain name renewal prices for at least 12 months after the close of the acquisition. Current domain name customers will remain with Google Domains until the end of the transition period unless they choose to transfer their domain to another domain name registrar.
What does this mean for Squarespace customers?
If you’re a current customer of Squarespace, you’ll now have access to domain name registration services through the company. Squarespace has promised to provide a seamless transition for customers over the coming months, with the help of the Google Domains team.
What does this mean for the domain name registration industry?
The acquisition of Google Domains by Squarespace is significant for the domain name registration industry. Squarespace will become one of the largest domain name registrars in the world, behind only GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Tucows in total number of registered domain names. The acquisition also highlights the challenges faced by domain name registrars, which are notoriously a low margin business.
Conclusion
Google’s exit from the domain name registration business is unexpected, but not entirely surprising given the low margins in the industry. The acquisition of Google Domains by Squarespace will make the company one of the largest domain name registrars in the world, behind only GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Tucows in total number of registered domain names. Current Google Domains customers will be transferred to Squarespace as part of the acquisition, and Squarespace has promised to provide a seamless transition for customers over the coming months.
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