back to article After giving us .zip, Google Domains to shut down, will be flogged off to Squarespace

Google has sold off Google Domains – its side hustle selling and managing web domains – to Squarespace in a deal reportedly worth $180 million. The transfer means about ten million customer domain names will be looked after by Squarespace. Squarespace, which provides website building and hosting services, announced the …

  1. Martin M

    Email forwarding for Gmail users

    I transferred my domains over to Google Domains a couple of years ago because I use Gmail, and it had developed a habit of binning (not even moving to Spam) forwarded emails.

    I think email forwards are increasingly problematic from an anti-spam perspective because they obscure the origin and the new(ish) validation methods can’t be used.

    Google Domains forwards seem to be trusted by Gmail. Certainly I’ve had no problems since.

    I have a horrible feeling that after this I (and family) are going to have to pony up for ‘enterprise’ Google Workspace, Zoho email etc. accounts with native, non forwarded accounts just to get reliable delivery for a personal domain combined with a decent email service…

    1. Nick Stallman

      Re: Email forwarding for Gmail users

      Fixing the forwarding issue is exactly why ARC exists. It's like DMARC but is dedicated to forwarded emails.

      1. Martin M

        Re: Email forwarding for Gmail users

        Thanks for that Nick, really appreciated - had not come across ARC, and looks like GMail does support it.

        Tutorials etc. seem a bit thin on the ground, but from a brief look, from a practical perspective it involves running your own forwarding to generate the ARC headers/signatures (e.g. https://blog.jak-linux.org/2019/01/05/setting-up-an-email-server-part1/).. Generally I want dedicated professionals as admins for anything in the email delivery path - my extended family would be less than impressed if it went down, and a compromised server would be bad. Google Domains had built-in fully managed email forwarding which is (was) nice.

        My current feeling is that Zoho Mail etc. with standard SPF/DMARC/DKIM might be better for me, if pricier. But if anyone knows of a decent and reasonably priced managed email forwarding service supporting ARC I'd love to know about it, I've had no luck Googling.

        1. Martin M

          Re: Email forwarding for Gmail users

          I've just found a free ARC-supporting forwarder from a reputable outfit: https://blog.cloudflare.com/introducing-email-routing/ (ARC confirmed here - https://developers.cloudflare.com/email-routing/postmaster/)

          As it happens, I'd been thinking about migrating my domains to Cloudflare anyway before they disappear off to Squarespace, so this looks perfect.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Email forwarding for Gmail users

      I used to prefer native mailboxes on the domains to deal with this problem. I still do, but the registrar I used has just increased the price for their mail hosting literally by an order of magnitude. I've only got one domain where I run the mail server myself because doing so when you don't operate at scale is a pain, but it's looking like a more and more necessary part of having email under your control which isn't ridiculously hampered by the operator or expensive.

    3. iron Silver badge

      Re: Email forwarding for Gmail users

      There is a simpler soplution, stop using ShiteMail.

      Email is a standard and better implementations are available. (and have been since decades before Google existed)

      1. Martin M

        Re: Email forwarding for Gmail users

        Actually it's a thicket of standards, with sometimes spotty support beyond the basics.

        Despite an occasional hankering for pine and having rebuilt a small ISP's SMTP and POP3 servers in about 1996, my recall is that GMail was a bit of a revelation when it launched. A nice big inbox, decent search, free, great anti-spam, efficient UI and generally rock-solid reliability. The alternatives were either expensive and a bit clunky (I migrated from Fastmail, which fell into that category), Squirrelmail from a vaguely shady web hosting company that probably didn't even RAID its mailboxes, or hosted Outlook Web Access (enough said),

        And those were simpler times. Any email service now has to deal with a firehose of spam, phish and worse hitting my email address that's been in continuous use over nearly quarter of a century. I don't know what magic GMail is doing to sort everything into the right folders, but I bet it helps being able to hire the best data scientists and pointing them at a substantial fraction of the world's email flows.

        It has to be able to defend my inbox against sophisticated attackers. I know GMail is pretty good at this, because they carefully warned me my account was under nation state attack a decade or so ago, and encouraged me to turn on two factor back when they were one of very few consumer services offering it.

        And because of what spam has done to the email ecosystem, players need to be important enough to sort out deliverability issues with the big boys who host most of the worlds mailboxes when they occur.

        So I'll probably stick to GMail + Cloudflare ARC-compliant mail routing. Seems to work nicely on a test domain - SPF/DMARC/DKIM all pass.

        However, I'm all ears if you have better options.

  2. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

    If you're a website owner, your domain is important - more important, even, than your host.

    Rule one is never, ever buy your domain from your hosting company - if the host goes bump, as they do, you're doubly screwed, whereas if the domain is elsewhere, you just point it at a new host and re-upload. Hassle, sure, but less so than having to retrieve the domain first.

    Rule two is never, ever rely on Google for anything important that isn't central to their core business. Or at all, if you can avoid it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Rule 2? That should be Rule 1

      Rule ONE is never, ever rely on Google for anything important that isn't central to their core business. Or at all, if you can avoid it.

      Rule Two. See rule 1.

      It saddens me that Google has wormed its slimy way into so much of our daily lives that going cold-turkey is about the only way to get rid of them.

      Even Car makers are betting everything on Google Auto. What will they do if Google decides to close it all down because it is not making the tens of billions per month that they had hoped?

      I suspect that the likes of Volvo, Polestar and the rest will go TITSUP pretty quickly.

      Yes, I am not a fan of anything Google. We are all targets. The slurp the very lifeblood from us and sell it to the highest bidder. F Google.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Rule 2? That should be Rule 1

        Automakers don't really "do" with suppliers just deciding to call it quits. You can bet your arse Google is in some strict contracts when it comes to stopping development.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Rule 2? That should be Rule 1

          Anyone got a "connected" car and tried delibrately turning off all outside contact? Is that even possible or will you have to wait to see what happens when your car is "no longer supported/EOL"? I'll be very interested to see how many current model cars are still usable in 10-20 years time, the bare minimum of expected lifetime for a car.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      I've recently noticed that my personal gmail has crossed the line into an area more than just personal comms, I've made the (in hindsight) mistake of using that email for some personal professional stuff like insurance and pension. I'm in no position to host my own mail server at this time, so it looks like a paid account somewhere to disassociate from gmail for these important\personal comms... In the end it will probably be cheaper than hosting my own email.

      I have added this to my list of crap to get done...

      1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

        Personal recommendations for non-US email hosts that charge for their services

        I have heard that among the email providers that charge for their services:

        runbox.no hosted in Norway ( https://runbox.com/price-plans/ , https://runbox.com/why-runbox/ )

        and

        Mailo.com, hosted in France ( https://www.mailo.com/ , https://www.mailo.com/mailo/en/who-are-we.php )

        have been acceptable.

        I get no benefit for relaying this information. I'm sure there are equally good British providers, but I have no direct or second-hand knowledge of them.

        Proton mail offers a chargeable service ( https://proton.me/mail/pricing ), but I have no feedback on it.

        1. Snapper

          Re: Personal recommendations for non-US email hosts that charge for their services

          I've used IONOS for a few UK clients. They can import POP and 365 accounts to work with IMAP quite easily.

      2. YetAnotherXyzzy

        I've been using Murena for several months and am pleased. One nice thing about them is their entry 1 GB tier is no cost, so you can try before you buy. Another nice thing is that they offer not just email but a whole suite of alternatives to Google tools, with the idea being you run their degoogled Android on your phone and thus get Google out of your life entirely, not just email. I haven't yet given their Android a go yet but it's on my list of things to try.

        https://murena.io/

  3. therobyouknow

    That's a shame.

    Google Domains are a bit more keenly priced. But with the sale to Squarespace I'm concerned about the 12 months price honouring.

    I'll stick with joker.com for domains, they've been going for over 20 years.

    No affiliation.

    1. HereIAmJH

      Re: That's a shame.

      I'm more concerned with Google's inability to communicate how it's customers are going to be affected. I went through all of this a while back when they told us they were shutting down all the free Google Apps accounts. I had a dozen mailboxes set up and had to find an alternative solution. I didn't really care about anything else in Apps, just the mailboxes I had set up pointed to my personal Org domain. What they couldn't seem to tell us before is how we would be able to manage our domain registrations without Google Apps. Because they are tied together.

      My domain was originally registered through GoDaddy. With Google Apps that migrated to Google and managed by GoDaddy wholesale. To get back to GoDaddy they were requiring a port out fee to move back to GoDaddy retail from wholesale. It took weeks before I found out that my personal Google Apps would remain, and my domain would continue to be renewed on schedule.

      So now, those of us who have domains with Google Domains managed by GoDaddy, will we now be SquareSpace customers? Or are we in limbo again? Because GoDaddy will not accept a payment to renew a registration on a wholesale account unless you pay a porting fee to move your domain back to retail.

      OTOH, I have received several emails on Google Album that I have never used on any of my accounts.

  4. JMiles

    What about...

    Google Cloud Domains? Yes its a separate thing from Google Domains - it is the domain registration service within GCP. So Google are unlikely getting out of the domain registration business altogether, probably just ejecting the more consumer-friendly offering.

    But it begs the question, why not try to move those people onto Google Cloud Domains? Did they really need $180m so badly?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: What about...

      "Did they really need $180m so badly?"

      No. It's just that the GooKids got board with that particular toy because it's not as shine as the competitions toys.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: What about...

        Oops. Bored and shiny :-)

  5. thondwe

    GD just seemed simple

    I consolidated on GD a while back - cheap and a complete lack of marketing push was one reason and support for sub-domains (NS records) was another - and I still have a free legacy workspace!

    Looks like SquareSpace doesn't support NS records, and I'll be seeing even more marketing? I guess- time to look again!

  6. rmacd

    Likewise, transferred all domains across to GD for exactly this reason: wasn't looking for anything fancy. Alas.

  7. Plest Silver badge
    Facepalm

    killedbygoogle.com

    Ever since I saw this a year or two back there's no way I'd ever buy a service from Google, I use the search and have 1 manky old gmail account for gathering crap mailshots but other than that I wouldn't touch Google with a barge pole. I've been with Gandi.net for 14 years now, they're a tad pricey than other registrars but touch wood I've not had a single blip out of Gandi in over a decade as a customer, used their support twice and each time they've come back to me within an hour with a solution to my niggle.

    I'd rather pay a couple quid more a year and know I'm in safe hands with a company that only deal with one core business and does it well, than Google who basically The Trotter Family of the internet!

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: killedbygoogle.com

      Unfortunately, Gandi are the registrar I mentioned in another comment above who just changed the way they do email for their domains. They used to include two very basic mailboxes with each domain, which they will no longer provide, and the price per mailbox has been multiplied by ten. This means that, if I stay with them and continue to use them, my effective price for the same product will be 3-4 times as large next year as it was this year, even though I've already renewed and payed them for many years to come (they do not continue to provide the service they included when I bought it). For a domain that is set up for a small project, I only need a very basic mailbox, and I don't necessarily want that to forward to a personal account, so I'm quite disappointed to have lost this.

    2. PRR Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: killedbygoogle.com

      > I've been with Gandi.net for 14 years now

      +1 on Gandi. They are a little bigger than what I need, and prone to "improve!" in ways I can live without, but zero trouble and I don't notice the cost.

      FWIW, I also get hosting at Gandi. If my needs were mission-critical I know that's not best, but knock wood no trouble.

      > Gandi are the registrar.... who just changed the way they do email for their domains

      Just saw this post. Yes, they "improved" that and I didn't care b/c I never used their mail. I looked when I saw the announcement and I had five emails claiming to be Gandi (but not, just phishers). I guess I will have to live without Gandi email.

      1. PRR Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: killedbygoogle.com

        I did not know Gandi had sold-out to another outfit.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandi#History

        Oddly this vital "news" is not posted on the Gandi Corporate News page.

    3. YetAnotherXyzzy

      Re: killedbygoogle.com

      Another satisfied Gandi customer here. For domains and nothing else, not email, not hosting, because -- as others have said already -- it's best to not have the same company provide your domain, email, and hosting.

  8. L_V

    Google Domains != Google Registry

    This is not completely the same thing that gave us ".zip", ".app" and other top level domains.

    Google Domains, which is being sold, is the registrar.

    What's not being sold (for now) is Google Registry (also known as Charleston Road Registry - see https://icannwiki.org/Google#New_gTLDs), ie. the operator of several top level domains. But Google being Google, the question is how long they'll continue to do this before they're bored with it.

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