Yesterday Google announced a new program called Virginia Get Your Business Online designed to provide free websites to Virginia small businesses without a web presence. The name of the program definitely needs some work but the concept is simple; Google is teaming up with Intuit to provide Virginia businesses with free domains, websites, and hosting for 1 full year. Why Virginia, you ask? Well, while 99% of the galaxy uses the internet, 44% of businesses in Virginia do not have a business website. That’s mind-blowing to me and a good reason to use Virginia as one of the first testing grounds for Google’s traveling freebie truck.
Considering Google and Intuit are most likely going to be helping new website owners hand register bad but available business domains, I guess it’s only fitting that the initiative’s official website domain is..well…just as bad. VirginiaGetOnline.com is apparently the best they could come up with despite Google also owning GetOnlineVirginia.com which is similar but only about 10,000 times better. A video on the site lays out all of the freebies folks will be able to take advantage of and also says that website owners will have access to “additional tools and resources” that will help. I can only assume this means users will be upsold to Adwords, Quickbooks, and whatever else Google and Intuit can make money on, because you didn’t think they were actually doing this to just help out and lose money, did you?
I find Google and Intuit as an interesting partnership considering Google already has a partnership that registers all Google Apps domains through GoDaddy. Because they are out to rule the internet world and already offer similar web builder products to that of Intuit, I’m surprised GoDaddy did not finagle their way into this somehow. What’s more interesting is that back in ’94, a strapping young man named Bob Parsons sold his company called Parsons Technologies to…Intuit…for $64M (Parsons Technologies developed and sold a software called MoneyCounts which Intuit transformed it into what we know as TurboTax today). Parsons then used that money to later start GoDaddy.com, which is now competing with Intuit in the same space. A little bit ironic, don’t you think?
The Virginia Get Online program will remain open for 1 year and anyone interested can visit VirginiaGetOnline.com.