Today Google India announced ‘India Get Your Business Online’, a first-of-its kind program to offer free websites, domain & hosting services to small medium businesses in India. Designed with local partners, the program provides Indian businesses the tools and resources to establish a website, find new customers, and grow their businesses.
“We have received tremendous response to this initiative in other countries and we are excited to bring this initiative to India and empower local businesses as more and more Indian users get online,” according to Google Senior Vice-President and Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora. Google had previously launched “Ger your Business Online (GYBO)” in many US states as well as in Canada at GYBO.ca, in Ireland at GettingBusinessOnline.ie and in Australia at GettingBusinessOnline.com.au earlier this year.
While India is home to an estimated 8 million small medium businesses, only about 5% have a website. This program is designed to bridge the information gap that exists online due to the lack of presence of local Indian businesses on the Internet. Businesses often believe that getting online is too complex, costly and time-consuming; this perception prevents many SMBs from taking the first step towards building an online presence. Google India and HostGator plan to change that through this initiative. In addition, HostGator will also offer free support in creating, hosting and managing the website for a period of one year without any cost through its toll free call centers 1800-266-3000.
Our goal is to help 500,000 small medium businesses in India to get online in next three years through this program, with our partner HostGator. Small business owners in India can logon to www.indiagetonline.in and use the tool to get a free, easy-to-build website and web hosting for one year powered by HostGator. Businesses will also get a customized domain .in name and free tools, training and resources to succeed online.
India get your business online program is also supported by Federation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), popularly known as FISME. FISME, the non-profit organisation will work with Google India to help SMBs get online through direct customer outreach and events.
Watch this intro video of ‘India Get Your Business Online’ program:
As part of this programs, SMBs will get:
- Free: It’s free to set up your website. The domain is free for 1 year, and it’s free to maintain your website for 12 months.
- Quick: The website tool takes 15 minutes from sitting down to being found online.
- Easy: You don’t need to be a tech whiz to get started. All you need to start is your address, phone number, TAN/CIN or PAN to verify you as a business
- Free .in domain.
- Other features include photos/logos, integration with social media platforms.
- You get a Google Apps account – free personalised email ids.
- If you want to make your website work harder, you’ll have access to steady stream of free tips and tools from the Getting Indian Business Online team and a free coupon of worth Rs. 2500 INR advertising trial from Google AdWords to help promote your site.
- After the first year, SMBs can choose to pay a monthly pay-as-you-go to maintain their website using hostgator.
- At the end of the first year, they’ll have to pay a nominal charge if they wish to renew their domain name. They can cancel their website at any time.
Whats in it for Google?
Why would Google give out free websites, hosting and domain?
- To Sell more Google Apps accounts. Get more SMBs to start using Google Apps service (and move away from Microsoft). The earlier attempt by Google (college competitions, partnership with Dell etc) probably has outlived its hunger (for more customers) and Google now needs fresh tools to penetrate deeper into the SMB market.
- Adwords. Google needs more and more SMBs to advertise using Adwords programme. A free site/hosting service is exactly what will pull SMB’s towards this.
- Though not so relevant, but its important to note that Google Plus is now enabled for Google Apps users. For many SMBs, this will be the ‘first’ experience of team collaboration.
Overall, for SMBs – this is a big news, but the important part for Google (and key metrics to track) is managing conversions to paid customers after a year (when the free part gets over).
Google’s Definition of SMB
It is important to note how Google defines SMB:
- For Yahoo Small&Medium Business, definition of SMB was a unit which is anywhere between somebody working part-time on a business idea to a team of 2-3 people. I did a lot of focus group studies in US and realized that most of these entrepreneurs needed a serious push regarding renewing the service to even updating their website content.
- For Microsoft, definition of SMB typically means a team of 50 people or so (and those who can afford the software).
- For Google, the definition lies somewhere in between. In the long run, Google stands to gain a LOT from this initiative as long as they manage to bring a lot of SMBs under this program and importantly, manage churn.
15 minutes, is what Google has promised, will take for the website from sitting down to being found online. “The initiative aims to break down the barriers that stop small businesses from getting online – by offering a quick, easy and free tool to set up and host a website. Our goal is to help 500,000 small medium businesses in India to get online in next three years through this program, with our partner HostGator,”Rajan Anandan, MD & Vice President, Sales & Operations, Google India stated on the company blog.
Indian SMEs can logon to www.indiagetonline.in, to get registered in the initiative and get their free domain. They would need to furnish an ID document, either a Permanant Account Number (PAN), or Tax Deduction Account Number (TAN) or Corporate Identify Number (CIN) to establish their identity.
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