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Domain name registration through Google - when things go wrong.

Not too many people know, that you can register new domains through Google. This can be done when you're registering for Google Apps Standard Edition which is free and somewhat stripped version of their Google Apps Premium Edition. Latter one is tailored more to suit business needs.

With $10/year prize tag it's not cheapest option, but you'll get "private domain registration to protect against spam at no extra cost, full DNS control and domain management, automatically configured to work with Google services, email, calendar, instant messaging, web pages and more also at no extra charge".

As a comparsion GoDaddy offers .org domains at $14.99/year so it's actually not that bad offer. Google actually is just collecting the data and sending it to their partners (godaddy, enome) which does the registration. I decided to give it a try at January 11th. To my big surprise things didn't went that smoothly. It's been now one week since my order - the domain I registered is actually not registered at all - it's up for grabs for anyone out there. All I got was account to Google Apps Standard Edition. After one days waiting I figured out there's something wrong with my order as my domain was freely available and in my Google Apps Dashboard my status was "Not active, pending payment", so I asked Google a status request about my order. I got automated reply stating that my orders payement was pending and I should wait them to process it. I waited one more day and since things didn't get better I sent another mail stating that my order was invalid. Once again I got automated reply without any useful info (except the fact that by replying to that mail Googles personnel should contact me). I replied to the mail stating that there really is something wrong as my payement hasn't gone through. I waited few days for reply which I never got.

At this point all I wanted was to delete my google apps account so I can retry, so I browsed through google help center and forums for information. What I found was that you actually CAN'T delete your account if you're ordered your domain through Google (http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=56236). Wait what? So.. now I have Google apps standard edition account for my nonexisting domain which I can't delete so that I could try registering again. Also, I can't get any contact to Googles "customer service" to get someone to solve this.

I did a quick search from Google Help forums with words "Not active, pending payment" and got quite a lot of results. It seems that Google staff reads those forums and can "flag" some posts which some support personnel can then pick and solve so I left their forum message describing my case and asking for any help. I haven't got any replies yet.

As a summary about everything above: I'm a victim of extremely automated process which had some hickups when it was processing my order and I'm not too happy about that. I know Googles strength isn't in customer service but in their extremely scalable systems. What pisses me most is that their system didn't work for me.

Based on my experience I really can't recommend anyone registering their domain names through Google.

End of rant.

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