Yesterday Blogger announced that they will let their bloggers use custom domains (that are already owned) with their Blogger service. What I found really surprising is that they are not charging for this service, and even more shocking is that they are not the ones “selling” domain names for anyone who doesn’t already have a custom domain. In fact, they are recommending sites like GoDaddy, DreamHost, and *gasp* Yahoo! for registering your domain name.
I’m wondering whether Google is receiving a portion of any sale that might result in users coming from their Blogger service. However, it would have to be purely based on HTTP referrers because none of the URL’s that Google links to use referral accounts (although GoDaddy does list the referral URL in the address bar automatically). So why isn’t Google offering the service themselves? That’s a question that I have been asking myself all day. Nearly two years ago they became an ICANN-accredited registrar which means that can sell any of these top-level domains: .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .name, and .pro. As soon as this happened people began speculating that they became accredited for the sole purpose of selling domains on Blogger, and now that they have released this feature they are recommending other services? It’s pretty bizarre if you ask me.
So how does the competition stack up? I can’t really say that there is competition because WordPress has a solution that costs $10 per year (not too terrible) and they’ll register the domain name for you for just $5 more per year. WordPress also offers an astounding $250 per month package that will put you in the hot seat (not because of publicity…but rather because it burned a hole in your wallet). Typepad also has a custom domain solution that will run you $8.95 per month, which is still a lot more than what Blogger is charging…FREE!
If I had to choose between one of those three services I would probably pick the WordPress.com hosting. By the time you pay for the annual fee on the domain name you can get the WordPress package for just 5 or 10 bucks more. With WordPress you’ll be able to use a wide variety of plug-ins that are currently available to make your site that much more fun. If you do decide to take Google’s route with Blogger, then you’ll find these directions useful in setting up your custom domain.