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Google & CIRA: Free Websites for Canucks!

April 1, 2011 by · 9 Comments
Filed under: SEO 

Yup, this new program, just launched,  offers up to any Canadian business the opportunity to get a free website, a free hosting deal, free tools to help build that site and a dot.ca domain address…and who’s footing the bill for this? Ah….well…it appears that this is from Google, RBC bank, Rogers Communications, the Globe & Mail, CIRA and a Toronto based firm called Silver Lining Ltd.

This is interesting….and as you’ve most likely alredy clicked on this link, and read the whole ITBusiness Canada story on same, you should have noted the following items….especially from a Canadian SEO point of view.

That CIRA, our  non-profit authority governing dot-ca domain names in Canada says that they’re not giving away a single .ca domain…but that Google is buying each and every one of them on behalf of the up to 1,000,000 Canadian businesses who dont have a website. With only about 1.5 million .ca sites created since the start of the internet, this kind of a new domain creating initiative would be a real boon for those of us who love our .ca’s….and specially good for those of us who market to just that kind of an audience for all things SEO! Good news, eh!

That other discounted Web and business services are being tossed into Google’s CIRA program by it’s partners. Silver Lining is offering its business planning software up for a free month, and then a discounted price of $365 for a year – the software typically costs $1,000 per year, sure they’ll attempt to latch onto some of the program members, but that’s not a bad thing, IMHO. And yes, there’s other deals available from various partners and some AdSense offers too….you do need to go and take a look/see….honest!

But to really see what’s offered – at least what is planned at this point, you need to go to the “Get your Business Online” site here…and see and read and learn….and here’s what the partners have to say about their goals for this program –

“The Internet is where the majority of Canadians go to find what they want and where more Canadians are buying what they want. Businesses without an online presence are missing out on a huge opportunity to find new customers, and to have new customers find them. We believe that any business, no matter how big or small, can grow and succeed online…”

Terrific deal in our mind…as “free” is always good, eh! We’ve signed up to be a full supporter of this and I’d hope that if you’ve a .ca of your own – or if you’re looking for a free one, that you’ll take the plunge to get online now — for free!

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9 Responses to “Google & CIRA: Free Websites for Canucks!”
  1. Jim

    It is an enticing program But and there does seem to be a but…. According to Seb Provencher “it looks like your “free” domain name is really just free the first year and it’s not transferable”.

    To me the issue of an SMB having complete control over their website is a critical one. They need a solid foundation they can build around and the choice of moving that website should be available to them going forward.

  2. Jim says:

    @Mike…yup, saw that…but what I wondered is how anyone can “lock” in a .ca with CIRA even under the auspices of Yola and this program…so I’ve emailed a contact there at CIRA for an explanation….

    will update here when I get same too, eh….the extra $20 for the domain reg annual renewal fee isn’t much IMHO to worry about…..but it is the actual as you pointed out — the LOCK that is worrisome….hence my query….

    but…in my mind, getting a few hundred thousand new .ca sites up and running is still a good thing….

    :-)

    Jim

  3. Jim says:

    @Mike….further to this….a piece over at Search Engine People by Jeff Quip appears to have answered this…and you ARE able to move it, you own it, you can stay with Yola or not…etc etc…..i.e. this is normal for the domain management and not a worrible point IMHO.

    Link to that explanation is here –
    http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/google-offers-free-websites-to-canadian-smes-quick-evalutation.html

    And I still await word back from CIRA itself too….

    :-)

    Jim

  4. Jeff Quipp says:

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the mention. I’ll talked directly with the people at Yola, and they’ve assured me in writing that the domains are fully transferable! Looks like a really good offer!

  5. Talk about a slap in the face! What about people like me who have a number of .ca websites and pay for them on a regular basis? Maybe I should cancel my paying 5 ones and get a free one?

  6. Jim says:

    @Bruce…no way to know if that might “work” for you…but I’ve received over 25 emails from folks about just that kind of thinking…ie it’s “unfair” to those of us who have been eager to use online marketing via going out and getting our own website domains and hosting….

    but nevertheless, I do see this as an idea that will work…Google did the same in Britain last year and I hear they had 100k new sites built….

    now THAT is good for all of us online marketing agencies, eh!

    :-)

    Jim

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  1. Zoomit.ca says:

    Google & CIRA: Free Websites for Canucks!…

    Yup, this new program, just launched, offers up to any Canadian business the opportunity to get a free website, a free hosting deal, free tools to help build that site and a dot.ca domain address…and who’s footing the bill for this? Ah….well…it appears…

  2. olddogg.com says:

    Google & CIRA: Free Websites for Canucks!…

    Yup, this new program, just launched, offers up to any Canadian business the opportunity to get a free website, a free hosting deal, free tools to help build that site and a dot.ca domain address…and who’s footing the bill for this? Ah….well…it appears…

  3. BizSugar.com says:

    Google & CIRA: Free Websites for Canucks!…

    Yup, this new program, just launched, offers up to any Canadian business the opportunity to get a free website, a free hosting deal, free tools to help build that site and a dot.ca domain address…and who’s footing the bill for this? Ah….well…it appears…