Surprised Google Didn’t Acquire Registrar

The big news this morning is about Google plans to launch a public domain registrar and that “the search giant quietly launched Google Domains on Monday as an invite-only beta service.” One thing I am a bit surprised about is that Google didn’t acquire (at least to my knowledge) an existing domain registrar.

As one might expect, domain registrar stocks have taken a bit of a hit following the news, as reported on Domain Name Wire. The market is likely fearful that Google will be able to carve out some market share from existing companies. I don’t know if that will happen, but it’s something people will be watching.

With the news, I am a bit surprised that Google didn’t acquire a domain registrar to get a leg up on this opportunity. Buying a registrar (or company that has a registrar) would have given the company a customer technical services team, domain name tools, a customer base, and domain names under management. Although the revenue stream may have contributed to the bottom line, the real benefit would come from having a proven product. The company could also remove itself a bit from the customer service side of things if it wanted to do that.

Ultimately, I think it will be a good thing to have Google enter this market. Perhaps it will encourage other companies in the space to enhance their customer service, improve their platforms, and potentially lower prices for domain registrants.

Are you surprised Google didn’t acquire an existing domain registrar for this new line of business?

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. It’s quite surprising because they have acquired many companies in different sectors and it would have definitely helped them in growing much faster had they acquired any registrar.

    Still I feel they will overtake many top registrars in 3-5 years time frame even the start is from scratch.

  2. Google has owned an Icann registrar accreditation since around 2003-2004.
    and, Microsoft has owned one since 2006-2007. They always attended the Icann meetings and also attended the private registrar meetings.

    They just never used them for domain registration. They used it for data mining.

    I’m sure Google would not want to buy an established registrar because of all of the baggage that might come with it. They surely don’t need it for programming capability. And, there is tons of ‘registrar operation’ talent floating around.

    The profit that a registrar would generate is peanuts to Google.

    • I know what you’re saying about “peanuts” but you could have said that the cost to run iGoogle was “peanuts” but they still killed it off despite its popularity.

      IMO, every business unit needs to make money and this would have been a leg up for them, especially from the customer service angle.

  3. When a company like Google buys a company, the acquired assets include the technology/product and, sometimes more importantly, the people. Google apparently believes that they have the expertise in-house (and $60B cash) to launch this business and quickly create scale.

    Google will do it right and do it better – much better. No question. This space will look vastly different in 18 months.

  4. I have not seen the beta Google registrar but Uniregistry is not powering Google. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery however and if Google has designed a registrar that rhymes with our own, they will have some wonderful innovations to riff from this fall, as we fully integrate our boutique sales marketplace ( and all it’s sophisticated CRM features in a new, delightful, crisp and apple-like way; with our manage interface at Uniregistry. There is a great deal of innovation and change coming to the way we all interact with domain names and these are just the earliest baby-steps of unlocking the power of the domain name for the masses. Exciting times for us all.

  5. “Google will do it right and do it better – much better. No question.”

    People are missing some history. They bought an affiliate network, Performics, changed the name, ended up shutting it down. Google Checkout failed. Froogle failed. Did Google + kill Facebook? No. This will be another google/ slash project, mainly for small businesses No real threat to existing registrars.

    • One big difference is that they can’t fail at this.

      Domain registration is a mission critical service, much like email, especially for the small businesses that will use their domain names for their online presence.

    • I think the history that matters the most in this case is the horrible track record Google has at providing customer service / technical support for their paying domain clients through Google Apps and Blogger (which had the domains registered through GoDaddy or eNom on the backend).

      Just do a Google search for “can’t renew Google Apps domain” and you will find a virtually limitless amount of complaints from customers who were not able to renew their Google Apps or Blogger domains because Google’s system was poorly designed or there was no way to actually reach a Google representative for help.

      Google had taken a “hands off” approach to support which they will need to change that if they want to take the domain name business seriously. There does seem to be some hope that they are stepping up and going to be providing support, since the website says they will be providing support Monday-Friday.

      BUt I say they need to ramp that up to 24/7 support, especially if they plan to compete with big retail registrars like GoDaddy.

      Having worked for a domain name registrar, I have learned just how important customer service is for your customers. If you don’t fix something in a timely matter or if your provide poor support, people will just take their domain names elsewhere.

    • Sure they can, registrars haven’t failed before? Google hasn’t failed before? This really isn’t as big of a story as most people are making it out to be. It’ll be yet another one of their projects they don’t go 100% with, some slash product, google/another project. They won’t compete with the big boys already occupying the space.

    • I agree with a lot that you are saying Jonathan, I think down over 22 % and some people thinking this will stop the Go Daddy IPO is a bit over the top.

      But I do think they want this mainly for new gtlds, they have applied for a lot of strings, they will win some of the best imo, and having a registrar tied into Google Apps, Gmail and Drive will be the play. I don’t think they will let this fail.

      Get your free .app from Google at the Google registrar, set up Gmail and drive and get to work small businessperson.

    • Ultimately, I think Google’s goal is to provide free domains on the new gtlds that are attached to their services (Apps, Gmail…).

      A way to lock-in users and discourage them from moving to other services/apps.

    • Could not see it Leonard, I think there is a culture clash and the price that KKR and Silver Lake would want would be too high for it to make sense for Google to acquire a business that traditionally has lost money year in and year out. If they did it would be the biggest story in the history of domaining.

  6. The changes in Google is welcomed. The main concept for the recent changes are mainly for eradicating Blackhat Techniques. This is really good news for the users of White hat Techniques.

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