Name.com differs from the pack. Its basic registration package is priced like a budget registrar's -- you get .com domains for $8.99 without hidden extra costs -- but it includes Web and e-mail offerings that compare favorably to a basic corporate intranet package.
When you register a domain at Name.com, you get access to a bundle of Google Apps that up to 50 people can use. Each user gets an e-mail box with the familiar Gmail Web interface, which your domain administrator can customize with your company or domain brand. It looks like company mail (right down to email@example.com), acts like Gmail, and comes with a huge 6GB capacity. There's spam filtering, and each mail address can be configured to forward messages to another box or download to POP software.
There's more to Name.com's Google Apps offerings than e-mail. Your domain administrator can set up shared or public calendars for individuals and groups, and there's a Google Docs space where groups can share and collaborate on documents. Each of these can be set up at a subdomain, so you'd find your calendar at calendar.yourdomain.com and your documents at docs.yourdomain.com. In fact, by directly editing your domain record, you can set up whatever subdomains you like.
To establish a public Web site, you use a Google App called Sites that uses a template-based user interface. It can seem a little confining to anyone who's coded their own HTML, but Sites is on a par with the template-based approaches of GoDaddy and 1&1 Internet. And because of Name.com's focus on groups, the Google Sites tool enables any number of authorized people to set up personal Web spaces at your domain.
In essence, then, Name.com provides you with a virtual intranet for a laughably small initial investment. That's not to say it's easy for an inexperienced administrator to set up (but then again, what intranet is?).
For one thing, the Google Apps administration is entirely separate from your domain administration pages. Before you can set up any Google Apps at your domain, you must log on to Name.com's DNS management pages, and map your domain to specific google.com servers. To get your Google Sites Web page on your domain, you must add a CNAME record to your domain profile and map it to Google's site (ghs.google.com).
That said, both Google Apps pages and Name.com's help pages explain the steps clearly and thoroughly.
Name.com's copious offerings require a fair bit of administration. On the other hand, because the whole user experience is based on Google applications, any effort put into learning feels like a transferable skill instead of a chore you'll never be able to apply elsewhere.
There's no concept of "one size fits all" in the domain registration world, so each of these registrars probably delivers an ideal basic registration package for somebody.
If you're creating a Web page for a personal project or one-administrator business, you can't beat the simplicity of GoDaddy and 1&1 Internet's approach. 1&1 Internet has a slight edge in price and e-mail capacity.
If you're a little more ambitious and need multiple e-mail boxes and a venue for team scheduling and collaborating on projects, Name.com provides all that for a rock-bottom price.
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