Google and partners offering free .ca domains and hosting for Canadians

Last Tuesday, Google and several partners in Canada including RBC Royal Bank, Rogers Communications, The Globe and Mail, and the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) launched the "Get Your Business Online" initiative targeted at small businesses in Canada. This exciting new move offers small businesses in Canada a free .ca domain for one year, paid for by Google. There are also free hosting and free website creation tools provided by San Francisco-based Yola, and free resources tailored for small businesses provided by the other GYBO partners. And finally, as a small cherry topping, Google is including a $75 coupon for advertising on Google AdWords.

Although designed for small businesses, individuals can (technically) take advantage of this offer provided they have a credit card with a Canadian billing address. Don't be alarmed though - the credit card is only used to verify an individual's residency in Canada and will not be charged. In addition, users who prefer to use another hosting service other than Yola may choose to migrate their domain away at no charge after 60 days, as per the CIRA rules.

So what is Google's motivation behind this initiative? According to the Financial Post, in a survey conducted by Angus Reid on behalf of Google, only a million of Canada's estimated 2.2 million small businesses have an online home. 71% of small businesses did consider having their own website, but 66% of respondents felt they lacked the technical expertise to create and maintain web pages, and less than half thought the costs of maintaining these sites was out of their reach.

By boosting the amount of businesses that exist online, in turn that will - in theory - increase advertising revenue for businesses that have a heavy presence online, particularly Google. It's a win for Google, Canada's small businesses, and 80% of Canada's population connected to the Internet.

To get started, head over to www.gybo.ca.

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16 Comments

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Frazell Thomas said,
Is this a big deal? The $10 or less charge to register a domain and find a cheap web host isn't restrictive to businesses IMHO.
It might get a lot of business to do it because it's free, then a year down the road, if they see results, they won't mind spending the money.. despite how little it is..

The thing is... once you transfer the domain elsewhere, you'll have to pay for it with your new registrar. It's only free for a year if you stay with them for a year, and it's free to transfer the domain for 60 days... but after you transfer it, you'll have to pay. Which from my experience, .ca domains are much more expensive than .com domains.

j2006 said,
The thing is... once you transfer the domain elsewhere, you'll have to pay for it with your new registrar. It's only free for a year if you stay with them for a year, and it's free to transfer the domain for 60 days... but after you transfer it, you'll have to pay. Which from my experience, .ca domains are much more expensive than .com domains.

The year you pay for on transfer will be added to the end of the expiry time. So you won't loose the free year while transferring.

Nashy said,
Awesome. Aussie one is good. .com.au free for 2 years. Hope I can move it.

Pardon? Isn't this only for .ca domains?

I did it and when I went to publish the domain, it came up saying it cost $35/yr


Check to see if your domain is available:
Excellent! kreugerburns.ca is available for as little as $35.06/year.

This is brilliant. Too many times I have gone to check out a local place online and they don't have an address which i'm assuming is for the main reasons they listed here.

Simon- said,
Google are doing this in Australia too, through Accounting Software Goliath MYOB. I hear that Google is doing all the work, the other companies are just in for the ride, but a free domain is a free domain (that can be transferred out). http://www.gettingbusinessonline.com.au/

they do it in the UK.. ive had a domain a while but not had a chance to transfer it out, i contacted support, they instructed.. when i followed the steps i couldn't find the correct options. i contacted support again a didnt get a response.. i couldnt change the namenservers either

I lost my login and dont know the email address I used to sign up. BT tell me there is no possible way to get the info, so basically the domain will be lost. Shame as the domain shows its registered in my name and address. Apprently that is not enough.

Nice idea, shame they had to ask BT to get involved.