Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

Next Stop: Free Google Domain Names

Now that Google has taken the next step with its GMail service and is now allowing you to manage your own domain name via GMail, my tip is it won’t be long before the free domain name train rolls back into town.

Remember, during Dot Com V1.0 there were a number of companies offering free domain names. As far as I know none of those companies are still around, but Squash reckons the idea is about to be pulled out of the closet once more.

Actually, that’s a given. Microsoft has already promised that all users of its Office Live offering WILL receive a free domain name. Google with this latest managed domain announcement has clearly demonstarted it wants to run interference on Office Live. So, where it can it will almost certainly match Microsoft offer for offer.

Both Microsoft and Google will do this because a free domain is the ULTIMATE lock-in strategy. I suspect the offer will work along these lines: We’ll register your domain for you for free, but we retain ownership of it. You can use it as the basis for your email and IM identities. We’ll also throw in some free webspace tied to your domain for your website, photos, etc. And all you have to give us in return is your loyalty.

Let’s face it, if your domain name becomes your online identity, you’re never going to change it. If people know that they can check out your webspace at yourdomain.com, email and IM you at yourdomain.com, see your photos at picassa.yourdomain.com, you tell me how you’re EVER going to churn to another online provider.

The question is whether the couple of bucks that it costs to attain and then annually retain a customer’s loyalty returns enough to make it to justify the investment. You’d have to say that only Google and Microsoft, maybe Yahoo and possible eBay have the strategy, product offerings and income streams to make this strategy worthwhile. It appears more and more likely every day that any other online company is going to stand any chance in the future of dismantling the online oligopoly.

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Filed under: Google

45 Responses

  1. Hmm…Interesting suggestion but it’s gonna be years before a free domain is offered especially to non-paid users. And did you read that latest news about Verisign wanting to further increase the cost of a domain?

  2. envelope says:

    A free domain needn’t be top level. For example, for the MS Live stuff it could be domain.live.com, then if you wanted a domain.com you would have to pay, or more likely have a subscription. After all, Office Live is going to be subcription-based, any you will pay for the features and length of time used.

  3. scudie says:

    Hmm interesting model.. Oh wait.. Yahoo has already done this.

  4. mungkol says:

    Very interesting .. Google is going to be the center of the web… Now that Google is trying to associate its services to every form of the current web businesses, sooner or later it will conquer the web. And then as our life is now linked more and more tightly with web, Google will become the 2nd Microsoft. The history will be repeated …

  5. anydaynapoleon says:

    The thing that really gets me is how commercialized the internet has become. The internet should be a free resource for everyone across the globe. The internet is the ultimate communication tool. We are able to post information and within a second someone on the other side of the globe is able to read it.

    It is unfortunate mega corporations control the internet we use. It would be nice to see domains offered with internet subscription services. Like, for ever dial up connection you get 1 domain name. For every high-speed connection you get 5. Or more…

    Frankly, I dislike what Google has become. Google has an ability to target advertisements directly based on content you are looking at. How invasive. Google mail is just a lame attempt to target advertisements based around email content.

    FREE THE INTERNET

  6. Anonymous says:

    anydaynapoleon: If Verizon had its way you’d be right, but you don’t have to participate in any commercial website. Google’s search engine– the essentials– is still just as clean and free as always. What you’re seeing is a price disease, where people have more and want more. Now we have free Gmail with all these crazy features, and we want even more from Google.

    As for this domain name thing, it seems totally bizarre to me. Google has no reason to want to waste money on hosting to lock in consumers, and $7/month isn’t so much to bear for someone who wants a domain name. They’d basically get freeloaders with unpopular personal sites, and who cares for those?

  7. talkislam says:

    wow, good post. and thats just it isn’t it, in their efforts to satisfy customers and gain money everything is becoming revolutionizingly great. its amazing isn’t it? the millenium feels like its coming in a bit late, but alll in all, its great. i mean with vista, and the newest stuff they’ve got coming out. its great.

  8. Google

    Where does Google fit in the scheme of US foreign policy? It is a US company and yet how much does it really need the USG to participate in trade

  9. I suppose a site.google.com doesn’t really sound bad, but .live.com sounds cooler and shorter if you ask me.

  10. Brandon says:

    It really goes to show how far we’ve come as a culture. only 70 years ago we wanted nothing to do with the world and now we nearly control every aspect of it. Google has the right idea in the “invasive” advertising aspects, and with the competing with microsoft to court high-revanue business clients. The money on the web is with business, not consumers. That is actually true in nearly every business. Its hard to believe but we arent the golden ticket anymore for a marketing strategy, but rather other companies are. The best way to market to the little man now is the invasive google ads on everypage. This is one of the lowest overhead, while being completly specific ad-campaigns i have ever seen. Yeah capitolism!

  11. David Flynn says:

    I’d suggest that these won’t be TLDs, unless of course Google can lobby for its own TLD (.go, anyone?) — which is of course ridiculous and will never happen, right up until the moment that it does actually happen. Not saying it would, but after all we’ve seen from them in the past few years, can anyone write off anything in the Googlesphere?

    Anyway, with so many domain names already taken, it’s make more sense for Google to start with a clean slate by letting folks be anyone.google.com — this alone would spike massive uptake from those who missed their domain name of choice. Of course, needn’t be based on google.com, as the G-men could come up with a catchy new domain name, but the value of having your primary (Google) brand seen, spoken and and typed (hooray for muscle memory) untold times a day on someone else’s dime cannot be underestimated.

    But for the end user, being able to aggregate so many of their online activities into a single and largely self-branded domain (even if it’s a sub-brand of someone else, at least that overlord brand is sorta cool) is a winner.

    David

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