The scheme is also a collaborative approach with chipset manufacturer Intuit, which provides businesses with the tools they need to get themselves online.
Now, you may well be wondering why companies such as Google and Intuit are getting themselves in such initiatives, but the fact is while they may not make money directly from this approach it puts companies such as Google at the forefront. In short, it is a very good marketing exercise.
What’s more, it is working. Since July 2011 some 300,000 US businesses have signed up to the scheme.
Speaking with ecommercebytes.com, Rebecca Ginsberg, a Google spokesperson said: “We did some research that found that while 97% of people go online to look for local products and services, 58% of small businesses in the US do not have a website.”
Rebecca added: “We started this program to make it fast, easy and free to help small businesses take the first step to getting online.”
While Google and Intuit are not likely to make much money from the scheme (at least in the first year) businesses will be expected to pay $2 per month for their domain name and $4.99 per month for web hosting. Interestingly, Google has opted for a no contact service, thus making it easy for small businesses to join the scheme.