Yes, you heard it right. In a bid to increase websites in India, Google came up with http://www.indiagetonline.in , where people can just login and get a free domain + one year hosting (from hostgator). What surprises me though is the inclusion of Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises or the FISME.

So where is the catch? Why free?

– Domain and hosting is free only for a year and later on you will have to pay hosting fees to hostgator or shift your hosting to any other host. Even if you decide to transfer the domain elsewhere, it can be done only after 60 days. Also a valid PAN card number is required per free domain. The important part is – No disclosure is made about the domain and hosting charges from second year. The lowest plan at hostgator starts at $5.56 which would turn to be around Rs.3300/- per year.

Now – Why Google’s free website offer will fail?

Google expects that this offer will lure small and medium enterprises into getting a website which is far away from practical.

Reason 1: To get a domain elsewhere doesn’t cost much which a small scale enterprise cannot afford to.

Reason 2: These small scale enterprises lack the know-how to get a website designed for themselves using the template and feel it too much of a headache. Why will somebody at a small scale enterprise devote time and energy to get a website designed themselves.

Reason 3: Serious buyers of website will always want SEO done of their websites and Google doesn’t offer a ranking package for obvious reasons. It’s a search engine company.

Reason 4: This offer will be used by existing web designers and marketers to create sites which are MFA(Made for Adsense) etc. Every family nowadays has 3-4 PAN card members. Moreover, they will shift their sites to other hosts before the end of the one year term.

What Google should have done instead?

Instead of going for a free website approach, Google should have invested it’s resources to educate people about the internet. Moreover, provide assistance and guidance on proper use of the Internet and how to block indecent content. Google should conduct parent’s / teachers / professionals workshop to make aware these to them. Google should make use of its extensive media contacts to get the message across to the large audience in India. Once every person is convinced, INDIA WILL GET ONLINE.

Offering free domain + hosting to make India to get online, is like offering a free bicycle to everybody and asking them to use it. People will only use it if they are aware that it will increase their fitness levels. Come on  Google, grow up! – Abhilash Pillai

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