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Will Google Domains Kill GoDaddy?

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Will Google Domains Kill GoDaddy?

Remember the web before Google, when we surfed using Yahoo's directory, AltaVista's web portal, or AskJeeves' answers?

While Google may profess to do no evil, even its CEO admits they've outgrown that slogan. And whether or not you consider it to be evil or just the cost of doing business, Google does have a habit of pushing other companies off the playing field with their innovative ventures.

And it's not just search engines that have gone by the wayside thanks to Google. Not only has "google" officially become the English word for searching on the web, but Gmail is now the most popular email service, Google Maps has made MapQuest all but irrelevant for most, and Google Fiber may soon put your local cable company out of business.

And in 2014, Google announced they're going to try to do the same with domain registration.

If you've ever had to register and manage domain names, you know what a hassle all the requirements and restrictions can be. Even basic tasks like setting your domain name servers correctly or hiding your address with Whois privacy can be confusing for beginners. And transferring a domain to another host or another person can result in a complicated back-and-forth tangle of emails and changing settings, even if you have more experience with managing domain names.

Just as Gmail simplified email and Google Maps made navigating easy, Google pledges to make purchasing and managing domains a much smoother process with their new Google Domains service.

Previously, Google would always recommend GoDaddy for purchasing domains. But with Google Domains, they'll be trying to take on all that business themselves.

Now that Google's in the domain registration business, will GoDaddy go the way of AltaVista and AskJeeves?

Here's how Google Domains compares with GoDaddy, one of the most popular domain registrars in existence… so far. Whose side will you be on?


Transcript: Will Google Domains Kill GoDaddy?

Google products have a history of pushing competitors out of the winner's circle. Next stop: Domains.

Google Goes for Domains

  • On June 23rd, 2014 Google announced they will be offering domain registration services.
    • Prior to this they referred users to eNom.com and GoDaddy.
    • It is currently invite only.
    • Customers will be able to buy and transfer domain names.
    • Their services seek to simplify how people buy, transfer and manage domain names.

Impact on the Industry

  • Google is now competing with companies they once collaborated with.
  • The most notable partner is Godaddy - the world's largest domain registrar:
    • GoDaddy has confirmed that Google will continue to be their partner.
  • Like GoDaddy did in the mid 2000s, Google may use their assets to undercut competitors by a considerable margin.
  • Google may be targeting small businesses, as 55% of them don't have a website.
  • Some believe Google is getting in the domain game in order to introduce customers to their other services like Google AdWords.

Google vs GoDaddy

GoDaddy is currently the largest domain registrar, controlling 30% of the domain market. Once people choose a registrar, they usually stick with it. This might make it more difficult for Google to gain registrar customers.

  • Google: Free private registration when you transfer or register a domain.
    • GoDaddy: Privacy protection starts at $7.99
  • Google: 100 FREE branded email addresses ([email protected])
    • GoDaddy: Branded emails start at $4.99 per month.
  • Google: Easy domain forwarding
    • GoDaddy: Free domain forwarding services
  • Google: Integrations with top website builders at an additional cost (Wix, Weeble, Spotify and Squarespace)
    • GoDaddy: For an additional cost they offer services from their own web designers.
  • Google: New domain extensions (.photography, .guru, etc.).
    • GoDaddy: Offers extensions that Google does not, including .tv and .me
  • Google: $12 a year for standard domain registration.
    • GoDaddy: $12.99 (for a .com domain) for the first year and then $14.99 per year after.
  • Google: Simplified registration process
    • GoDaddy: More complicated checkout process with upsells and additional fees (like WhoIs privacy, branded emails, etc.)
  • Google: No mention of discounts offered, yet.
    • GoDaddy: Often offer large discounts.

Google's Path of Destruction

Google's products have already left a path of destruction, knocking out many sites on the way to the top:

  • AltaVista (owned by Yahoo) → Google Search
    • One of the top search engines from the 90s, lasted 18 years.
    • Date of Death: 2013
  • BabelFish → Google Translate
    • Altavista's translator, BabelFish, introduced in 1997, was the main online translator until Google Translate (2006).
    • BabelFish is still up and running, as Yahoo! Babel Fish.
  • MapQuest → Google Maps
    • Still going, but only have 20% of map service users.
    • Google Maps started taking over this sector in 2008.
  • Hotmail → Gmail
    • In 2012 Gmail beat hotmail out for the top email service.
      • Gmail had 287.9 million users while Hotmail had 286.2 million.
    • Date of Death: 2012

Will GoDaddy be next?

Google has an impressive track record, but only time will tell whether they can control the domain industry or not.


KeriLynn Engel

About KeriLynn Engel

KeriLynn has worked as a freelance writer for various websites. She is an advocate for domestic abuse victims and has way too many hobbies.


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January 10, 2015

An infographic about the failures of Google, like Google Videos, Google Answers, Google Wave, Google Buzz, Jaiku and more would also be a very interesting. :D



January 28, 2015

I’m not a huge fan of GoDaddy, so Google could easily compete with them, especially considering their obvious advantages (being Google). I am a little concerned about Google going this route, though, for that very same reason (they are Google and they have so much control over web traffic).


MJ Rosen

March 4, 2015

Yes, Google will overtake Godaddy! Godaddy has stopped giving out a lot of the good coupons for domain renewals. You can transfer to Goggle for 40% off! Why would anyone pay more?



July 6, 2015

The examples in this article stink. There is a lot that Google has done wrong, but most of these don’t fall in that category.

Hotmail is alive and well. Statistically, they have the same user base as GMail. Hotmail is a M$ product which is turns a lot of people off. On top of that, Hotmail has been using the same interface (with a few minimal design element changes) with no real new features forever. Google actually updates their products that are successful (and some that aren’t).

The fall of Alta Vista had much more to do with Alta Vista than it had to do with Google. When the internet audience was getting more interested in a minimalist approach due to relatively slow internet sppeds in the US, Alta Vista made the bad decision to make their service a portal that looked like AOL, Prodigy, and a dozen other services that were already starting to fail. Not to mention that there was no coherent corporate management structure as Alta Vista (or whatever company owned it at any given time) kept getting sold to another business that each time had different ideas for the service and kept changing the site’s philosophy.

MapQuest’s failure to effectively do their own mapping, continuously bad results, failure to integrate well with a horrible API structure, and lack of any real attempt to fix those issues is what has led to the decline of the service. When a company whose job is to provide mapping details allows a search engine to do a better job at providing mapping service, it is not the fault of the search engine when people choose not to use the faulty mapping service.

BabelFish, being a Alta Vista/Yahoo! product suffered from many of the same issues as the search engine. Lack of a continuous corporate direction, lack of development, lack of investment and resources were some of the issues that caused it to ultimately fail. However, the biggest reason was that it just didn’t do a very good job.

There is a reason that most people do not still drive a steam powered car on a regular basis. Companies (particularly US companies) get complacent when they get to the top. They believe themselves to be indestructible right up to the time all their customers leave them because their products are second rate. Google cannot be held accountable for other companies choosing not to be innovative, keep up with the times, or provide a service that actually works.


David Leifer

July 10, 2015

Absolutely not. Google domains is missing a very key feature in the area of domain management – you can not delegate, share or modify domain administration in any way. Permissions can not even be modified within a Google Apps domain. In other words domain registration is tied to a single email address only. While you can change the email address to which the domain name is tied, this can only be done once every 60 days.

In effect, if I register a domain name to my Gmail/Google Apps account and want to give a developer access to modify dns records, etc., consequently they will also have access to my email, google docs., etc….not good Google, not good.


Anton Kovalenko

January 21, 2016

@David Leifer: Google Domains != Google Apps domain
It’s new service after all. Are you in beta by chance? I am, but unfortunately it’s US only right now, while I’m in EU.


Jamie Dignam

February 17, 2016

Gmail is only more popular than Hotmail since 2012 because at the time YouTubers who registered were forced to have a Gmail account after the ‘New Channel Layout’ which was only changed in 2014, I noticed it ONLY rose up after YouTube forcing it.


Andy Fernandez

June 19, 2016

Google will beat GoDaddy all the way, and with their Google Cloud Platform now is like you have it all just set it up when you need it and pay for what you use, month / days / hours or even minutes. Not paying for overpriced services and if you dont renew you lost your content.


ACS Creative

June 23, 2016

big picture plan.
if your domain is not bought with google you will not show up in our search, end of all other domain hosting providers.



June 27, 2016

That sounds a bit like a conspiracy theory to me…



November 10, 2016

GoDaddy has such a huge install base of domain names that the thought of Google taking them out is pretty ridiculous. First – they’re partners and work together. Second – Godaddy essentially controls, or at least is the root provider to millions of websites and tens of millions of domain names, the vast majority of which are indexed by Google. And 3 – buying a domain and developing a site on it and having email on it creates a lot of stickiness and people are wary of transferring away from their registrar and having to deal with technical issues or the notion of downtime.

Yes, Google will displace registrars with their offering, however, believe killing Godaddy is extremely unlikely. Perhaps buy them, or another firm, to buy into the game…. or like so many other Google projects – if they don’t get major traction soon – they’ll shut it down and/or mothball until some unknown future.


Michael Askew

December 13, 2016

Chris is right and Godaddy paid the premium to avoid these competitive headaches with google. 4.8$ billion.
Google was one of the only major players remaining with the potential to take marketshare from GD because of gmail.

There is a generational factorization in regards to digital identities. Email as ones identity is becoming a url, and this will refresh the domain market as it was bottoming out. Its cyclical in reverse, when pinned up against the mediums rise of maturity.


Miguel A. Gonzalez

April 27, 2017

I have to agree with those who think that the notion of Google killing GoDaddy is ridiculous. Unlike the many other companies that folded or buckled from Google’s competitiveness, GoDaddy has continuously adapted and stepped up the game. That is how they beat out every other registrar. Working with a multitude of registrars since 1999, there are still a vast number of them with horrible UX and UI designs that make them a nightmare to work with. I switched to GoDaddy over a decade ago and cannot see myself leaving them anytime soon, especially with the number of domains I have registered with them. I think there is room for more than one big player and the constant notion that any one company must dominate a particular industry at the cost of another big player is nonsense… actually frightening. One company having full control (100%) of any industry is never a good idea. Competition is healthy.