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Google: "No Plans To become Domain Registrar"

 1:32 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Continued from:


"... we have no plans to register domains at this time, we believe this information can help us increase the quality of our search results."



 4:38 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Makes sense. I was IMing with someone about this last week. He asserted that there was a lot of money to be made and Google was likely to move in on it.

I disagreed because that path didn't fit into Google's Mission Statement which is simply to organize information. Everything Google does fits neatly into that matrix, including adwords and adsense (which distribute information relevant to a search query and context).

So keeping the Mission Statement in mind, it made sense that this move had more to do with obtaining more information about domain names than anything else.

The questions I have are:

  • Does this mean that you can't hide your domain name ownership behind a proxy?

  • What additional information do they have access to?

  • Was this simply a cost saving move? Will they have the same info as before, but pay less for it?

  • What implications does this have for the way PR is reset after expiration?


 5:26 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

It may be that Google is positioning itself to host small business "storefronts" to plug into its Google Local using software similar to Blogger, probably morphing into an advanced geographic search product using technology from Keyhole. From what I can tell, Amazon/A9/Alexa has positioned itself for similar business, even going so far as to publish geo-coded street images and assign individual Web sites an asin.

The reason I think Google would consider this is that a huge amount of new business can be attracted in this sector, both on the hosting side and the advertising side, well within Google's overarching mission of organizing the world's information and making it easy to find.

Then again, maybe not.


 6:18 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

How about this?

Search for blue widgets and on the results page you see "Click here to register bluewidgets.com"


 7:15 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

It may be that Google is positioning itself to host small business "storefronts"

That's the only real conclusion I could come up with when I found out they had become a registrar. With MSN chasing them down, I think they probably want do diversify a little bit. If MSN search takes over, Google has no other source of income (aside from providing "information") and that's not a good plan for the long term.

I could definately see an "Ecommerce powered by Google" in the future.

My sources at Google won't comment... of course :)


 9:05 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

"... we have no plans to register domains at this time, we believe this information can help us increase the quality of our search results."

How to interpret G$-doublespeak:

"no plans" = no pre-written itinerary, but that does not limit G$ from having possible intent, even currently.

"at this time" = G$ may may very well write up such plans at any other later time, after making the comment.


 9:41 pm on Feb 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

why would Google enter such a low margin commodity type business?

It may be low margin, but it would be easy for them to implement, and down the road, as Google becomes more and more of a portal, it could be a cheap way of enhancing their presence.

I don't think being a registrar gives them too much of a technological advantage, but I think it's a good business edge.


 3:22 am on Feb 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think that Martini Buster said it the best. This will give Google the power to search the entire whois database. I think there is definately a privacy concern.


 11:24 am on Feb 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi Martinibuster

To realease domain information through a proxy you need to sign something unless it's a police enquiry about criminal case so I would be surprised.

Thawte cannot get the domain info without me so how could Google?


 4:35 pm on Feb 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't know how they were approved by ICANN if they have no intent to be a registrar.



3.1 Obligations to Provide Registrar Services. During the Term of this Agreement, Registrar agrees that it will operate as a registrar for each TLD for which it is accredited by ICANN in accordance with this Agreement.

ICANN loses quite a bit of credibility if you can just "buy in" for the purpose of data access.

Sounds kinda fishy.


 5:28 pm on Feb 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

John316 has an excellent point.

There's only one reason for this discussion - everyone's worst fear about what Google will do with instant access to this information is __________________________?

Based on their results for the last 18 months or so (which I'm not impressed with, regardless of how well I rank), my fear is simply they'll somehow apply this info to their algo INCORRECTLY...


 7:47 pm on Feb 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

I see them organising all the whois info so they can find in a glance all the domains (excluding proxy) owned or adminned by a certain handle.
Google is professing to do no evil but the information these guys are obtaining makes Big Brother look tiny.


 11:12 am on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't think you need to be a registrar to organize a local copy of the whois ;)


 11:29 am on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

When a domain expires and changes hands, Fausett said, Google can now more easily find, scan and index the new site

So Im thinking you can no longer buy a old domain / website to beat the sandbox? Because google might* consider it a new website after the domain changes hand.

Any thoughts about this?


 12:37 pm on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

They already had the daily zone files (eg: all the whois info was avail to them already) - what more could they need?


 1:10 pm on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

They already had the daily zone files (eg: all the whois info was avail to them already) - what more could they need?
There is no WHOIS data in the daily zone files. The daily zonefiles only contain the domain names and the nameserver data. The WHOIS data is separate and many registrars offer copies of their bulk WHOIS data for a fee. It would be possible for Google, given their financial resources, to assemble a comprehensive copy of the whois data for the gTLDs. However access to the ccTLD zones and whois data is more controlled especially in Europe where data privacy legislation is stronger.

I've been working on this domain/nameserver to country mapping for the last five years using zonefile data and there is a lot more to it than just having the zonefile data.



 5:06 pm on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

If they bring out their own browser it would fit their business model.


 6:18 am on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>However access to the ccTLD zones and whois data is more controlled especially in Europe where data privacy legislation is stronger

I am giving away secrets here but hardly anyone will read this post I hope.
At the moment google let .info expired domains slip past and for .org domains they give the pr back after one or 2 updates.Also these domains were not subject to the "sandbox".They may now move on these tlds.
So the trick is buy expired foreign domains and you are safe from having the pr reset.
I have already done this with success.


 4:12 am on Feb 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

maybe they'll reset the PR and links for transferred domains too. That would really suck. Or maybe they just want to make sure they don't miss any expired domains. I don't see them selling domains...it's way too low of a margin. No way.


 7:16 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Maybe this will doom some tightly held link farms that flew under the radar until now.
It might help clobber expired-then-snatched domains with those horrible portal pages
(if that's the right term). If either or both are true, it could
improve their listings for users seeking honest results. -Larry


 4:18 pm on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Read all the posts and articles and a couple of questions spring to mind - anyone any views on these

1. Resold domain data - does some central body keep a record of this

if not, then WHOIS changes must be the trigger to say a domain has changed hands. If so then,

2. What if a company changed it's legal title and/or moved premises - it would need to update it's WHOIS data - surely that would be classed as a sale?

This is all obviously speculation, but does anyone have any views..


 6:13 am on Feb 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Martinibuster asks if G now has access to the proxy info. The quick answer is no. I doubt this would be a primary factor in their getting into the whois business. BUT there is some caution here:

When you sign up for a new domain and choose proxy service, you are asked to enter what appears to be registrant whois data (which then gets proxied). Is that proxied immediately? Yes, if all goes well. But what if all doesn't go perfectly? What if the proxy service pauses and kicks in a few hours later? Or what if you lapse your proxy subscription? Or transfer to a new account, also proxied? Is the original registrant data ever submitted to whois? Is anything?

I asked these tough questions of the company that almost advertised twice on superbowl sunday. The answers convinced me that it might be wisest to insert plausibly accurate but perhaps-not-exactly-revealing registrant data when buying your domain, and putting that same data back in prior to executing any transfers or renewals, especially if the transfer is to a different proxy service.

You can do your own research, but when G has immediate access to the real-deal whois listing service, I believe it pays to be cautious and ask the tough questions.

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