Monday, February 16, 2009

Google and Microsoft and Domain Names

This was only a matter of time, and Google's apparently been offering domains for a while now. The major flaw plaguing the domain name business was lack of reputability of a large, well-known company. GoDaddy was clawing it's way up that chain, but can't compete with the visibility of MS or Google. Up til now, Google hasn't really pushed GoDaddy or the smaller players out of the spotlight here, but MS might change that.

If Google has one limitation, it's in pushing services on those who aren't looking for them. Meanwhile, MS's core competency may be putting products in the hands of unwitting consumers. If MS puts any effort in this area at all, it might encourage a little more aggressive marketing of domain names all around.

On the other hand, the major block to profitability for large companies, and the major reason small domain name registrars stay in the game is because of the lax rules on cybersquatting. If you are sitting on the right politician's surname in the right election cycle, you could walk away with thousands of dollars for almost no investment. If we had some way to free up unused domains, we might see a far greater utilization of the domain space.