Google tests custom domain registration service

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Google Domains start page.

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Google apparently has its eye on more of the internet.

The search giant announced on Monday that it was testing a custom domain registration service called Google Domains. Google said it decided to launch the service, which is still in invite-only beta mode, after learning that 55% of small businesses don’t have a website.

“We’re starting to invite a small number of people to throw tires at Google Domains, a domain registration service we’re building,” the company said in a statement. “Businesses will be able to search, find, buy and transfer the best domain for their business, whether it’s .com, .biz, .org or one of the many new domains that are launching on the web.”

Google Domains will offer services such as domain transfer, customizable subdomains, and free private registration. Along with offering access to hundreds of new domains such as .guru and .photography, the service will create up to 100 email aliases based on the domain of your choice.

Although the service gives users the ability to purchase custom URLs, Google will not provide site hosting. Partners such as Wix, Weebly, Shopify and Squarespace will provide hosting and website building services to registrants, the company said.

A Google page outlining the service’s features lists an annual subscription fee of $12, which a Google representative confirmed to CNET.

Google’s presence in the industry could prove disruptive, especially for major domain registrar GoDaddy, which two weeks ago filed documents for an initial public offering that could be worth more than $100 million. While GoDaddy has 57 million domains under its management, controlling about 30% of the domain registrar market, the company revealed earlier this month that it posted net losses of nearly $200 million of $1.13 billion in revenue in 2013.

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