Squarespace announced on June 15, 2023 an agreement to acquire the assets of the Google Domains business, which includes around 10 million registered domains. The transaction is anticipated to close in the third quarter of 2023.
The companies intend to transition current Google Domains customers to Squarespace domains, and Squarespace stated the company would honor renewal pricing for at least 12 months after the transaction is completed. Following the initial announcement, Google published a support page about the transition, and Squarespace shared details on a Squarespace Domains site.
If you registered one or more of the 10 million domains affected by this sale, the four key points you need to consider are detailed below. Unfortunately, since the announcement by Squarespace on June 15, Google Domains has yet to email current customers about the transition as of June 21, 2023.
- You’ll have a different domain registration vendor
- Domain registration pricing will likely change in the long-run
- Expect fewer partnerships and more promotions
- You may want to explore alternatives
You’ll have a different domain registration vendor
Former Google Domains customers will become Squarespace customers; these customers will need to sign in to Squarespace to modify, add or otherwise manage registered domain name system records. All future domain name renewals will be done through Squarespace.
Domain registration pricing will likely change in the long-run
One significant shift in the longer-run will be the possibility of domain name registration price changes. In the initial announcement, Squarespace asserted it would honor renewal pricing for at least a year, which is helpful because Google Domains tended to offer an excellent value for the price.
To get a sense of the potential changes, let’s review the listed fees for a hypothetical domain, exampletechrepublic, with each of the following variants to illustrate price differences.
Customers for standard .com, .net, .org and .dev domains might anticipate increased costs along the lines shown in Figure A and the table above. The actual cost change will vary based on your specific set of domain registrations. In an enterprise, which may need to manage many domains (e.g., several domain name variants each for multiple brands), the cost change could be notable.
Expect fewer partnerships and more promotions
Google Domains made it easy to add and configure Google properties such as Google Workspace, Sites, Blogger or Firebase and also offered streamlined setup with partners that included Squarespace, Shopify, Bluehost, Wix and Weebly. Once Google Domains’ domain registrations are transferred to Squarespace, few of these partner promotions will likely remain; however, per the announcements, streamlined setup of Google Workspace from Squarespace domains will continue. Customers of Squarespace domains might anticipate more promotion of Squarespace website creation tools.
You may want to explore alternatives
The prudent action might be to do nothing: Wait for the transfer, monitor the situation and evaluate any future price changes when they occur. From what is known now, if Google Domains customers do nothing, then all registrations will transfer to Squarespace and pricing will remain stable for a year.
Hopefully, the timing of the transfer of the registrations will be planned to give Squarespace time to ensure its systems are as robust as Google Domains have been. For example, historically, Squarespace’s website offering did not sell DNSSEC services (Figure B below, right) and instead has pointed customers to third-party providers, which essentially placed the responsibility for proper technical configuration on Squarespace customers. In contrast, configuration of DNSSEC in Google Domains often was enabled by default (Figure B below, left).
Alternatively, some Google Domains customers may prefer to go ahead and switch to a different registrar proactively. You would need to select an appropriate registrar and then initiate the domain registration transfer process.
For example, a strong candidate might be a domain name registrar that offers Whois privacy, reasonable pricing, published names/profiles of key leadership and organizational experience as a Google Workspace reseller. Published profiles indicate a certain level of willingness from people to accept responsibility for their business actions, while experience with Workspace reselling increases the chance that support teams are familiar with Google’s systems. To that, you might also prefer an easy-to-configure DNSSEC option, as mentioned above. Namecheap.com meets all of these criteria and is worth a look for alternatives.
If you have domains registered with Google Domains, do you plan to let your domains transfer to Squarespace or do you plan to move them to another domain name registrar? If the latter, which domain name registrar have you selected? Why? Mention or message me on Mastodon (@awolber) to let me know what your plans are as a result of the sale.