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Squarespace (NYSE: SQSP) announced a $180 million acquisition in June, completing the deal in September. At the time of the announcement, Google Domains managed approximately 10 million domains. Over half of these were .com domains,
Perhaps the most surprising news this year is Squarespace's acquisition of Google Domains.
Squarespace (NYSE: SQSP) announced a $180 million acquisition in June, completing the deal in September.
At the time of the announcement, Google Domains managed approximately 10 million domains. Over half of these were .com domains, making Google the fifth-largest registrar for managed .com domains.
Google entered the industry in 2014, initially progressing slowly. However, with its brand name, high Google rankings, and the integration of domains with other Google products, the registrar became a giant.
It's currently unclear why Google decided to exit this business, but there are some speculations.
The news has shocked many, including competing domain registrars. Few were seemingly invited to bid on the asset, and Squarespace may have gained an advantage due to its existing partnership with Google.
Squarespace is not a stranger to domains. It was an accredited registrar managing around one million domains before the acquisition. However, its customer base differs significantly; primarily consisting of people creating websites on Squarespace and adding domains.
Its registrar features were basic until October of this year when it added domain forwarding and bulk updates.
The retention of Google Domains customers by Squarespace remains to be seen as domain renewals occur. While the most straightforward action for customers is to retain their domains, if Squarespace decides to raise prices, many may consider alternatives.
Google Domains charged $12 for most domains. Squarespace previously charged $20 but now charges $12 for the first year and $20 thereafter. It has committed to honoring Google's existing prices for a year.
Several registrars are actively competing for Squarespace's domain customers. Automattic, the creator of WordPress, is offering transfer and renewal fees for domains moving to its platform.
Although frustrated by missing out on the opportunity to acquire Google Domains, other registrars are likely excited. Breaking away from powerful brand competitors means more business for them.
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