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Delete your Google Apps Account

Guide for the Self-Reliant Customer

Product: Google Apps with Domain Name
Version: Standard Plan (not Business)
Last Update: January 2, 2015

This page organizes in one place the solutions Tuum Est posted to Google Groups in July 2012. Though it pertains to the Google-GoDaddy partnership, much of it can be extrapolated to the Google-eNom partnership as well.

How to Open a Support Ticket at Google Apps

The Google Apps product forum has post after post from customers asking for workable guidelines on how to delete a Google Apps account while retaining control of their domain name. Posts span a timeframe from one day ago to four years ago. The tone is uniformly frustrated. Any nuggets of real information are buried under an avalanche of questions and narratives. Clients can't even figure out how to open a support ticket.

  • This is job one – How to open a support ticket:
  • Sign in to your Google Apps control panel at http://google.com/a/your-domain.com (replace your-domain.com with your actual domain name)
  • When your dashboard appears, navigate to Domain Settings > Domain Names > Advanced DNS Settings
  • On the Advanced DNS Settings page, look for the line
    godaddy customer service email: gdomains@secureserver.net
  • That email address is not an active link. When you click, nothing happens. An email form does not open up. You must open your own email program and manually type in the destination address gdomains@secureserver.net

GDomains – A Hybrid Domain Registrar

On Advanced DNS Settings, refer again to the instruction at the lower left corner of the page: godaddy customer service email: gdomains@secureserver.net

The phrase GoDaddy Customer Service precedes and introduces the email address GDomains, implying an equivalence between GoDaddy and GDomains. But when I contacted them, their emails were signed Thanks, Google Domain Support which implied an equivalence between Google and GDomains. This was puzzling: In the emails, when staff wrote our and we, to whom did they refer – GoDaddy or Goggle?

Well, neither. After persistent inquiries, I found that GDomains is a special department created to manage the Google–GoDaddy partnership. It is not exactly GoDaddy, and not exactly Google, but rather a hybrid between the two. The explanation from their staff:

The email address gdomains@secureserver.net is answered by a special department at GoDaddy that handles the DNS for the domains. We provide the Google Domain Support for domains that are registered through Google and use GoDaddy as the registrar.

The domain is in a special account that can only be accessed through your Google Apps account. If you cancel your Google Apps account you will not have access to the domain name. You must transfer the domain to be able to continue to have access to the domain. The only way to transfer the domain to a regular GoDaddy account is to cancel the Private Registration. You must cancel the privacy to be able to move the domain from the Google account to a GoDaddy account or any other registrar.

Account Change versus Domain Transfer

Suppose you want to end your Google Apps account, but keep your domain name with GoDaddy. Is this an Account Change or a Domain Transfer? What is the difference between them?

Account Change There is no fee. You don't need to disable Private Registration.
Domain Transfer You pay a transfer fee to the receiving registrar (usually balanced out by a free one-year extension of the domain name); you also pay approximately $10 per domain name if you want to reinstate Private Registration after the transfer.
During the transfer you must disable Private Registration. The Administrator of your domain name must have a valid email address in the Whois database. Both registrars use this email address to send you information about the transfer. If your domain name has Private Registration, which hides your personal information from the public, you cannot verify your administrative contact's email address in the Whois database. For this reason, you must cancel the Private Registration, at least temporarily.
Resources Understanding the difference between account changes and transfers
Accepting a domain name into your account
Moving a domain name out of your account
Preparing to transfer domain names

Delete a Google Apps Account, While Keeping Your Domain Name

The Google support page Deleting your Google Apps account offers this impossible instruction: Login to your control panel, navigate to Domain Settings > Account Information, and click the link Delete Google Apps for your-domain.com. But no such link or words appear anywhere on my panel. The complaint is universal: those instructions do not work for clients with the Standard Plan.

Mission: Cancel Google Apps but keep my carefully-chosen domain name which I would oversee at GoDaddy. Because GoDaddy account policies were at issue, I bypassed GDomains and emailed GoDaddy support.

My question: Treating this as an Account Change would be logical, because my domain name already resides at GoDaddy. Both GoDaddy and Google Apps already have on file two email addresses for me (a primary and secondary email address). The secondary address is where both companies communicate with me: GoDaddy sent my Authorization Code there, and Google sent my Purchase Receipt there. Both companies already have my administrative contact information: they know it, they use it repeatedly, they remain in charge of it. It makes no sense to stop Private Registration so they can verify it.

Logic fell on deaf ears. The GoDaddy support staff replied:

It would be a domain transfer, as a domain registered through Google Apps does not create a full GoDaddy account. If you'd like to transfer the domain to your GoDaddy account, you will need to purchase the domain transfer through us.

Before you can authorize a domain name transfer from another registrar to us, you must prepare the domain name and purchase the transfer. One mandatory step is to temporarily disable Private Registration.

The process and time required for transfer completion can vary for certain extensions, such as country-code top-level domain names. For most domain name extensions, the transfer takes five to seven days from the time you authorize it.

Bottom line: Transferring a domain name to a real GoDaddy account incurs the same penalties as transferring to another registrar: You must pay a transfer fee, stop privacy protection, wait 5-7 days for propagation, then pay another fee to reinstate Private Registration. The result: Customers have no obligation – or incentive – to stick with GoDaddy.

Specific Steps for Domain Transfer

The Insider's Guide to Domain Name Transfers gives detailed instructions on how to transfer your domain name to another registrar. The three most important steps are:

  • Unlock your domain name
  • Request that your Authorization code be sent to you by email
  • Visit Domains By Proxy to disable Private Registration on your domain name

Domains By Proxy

Sign in to Domains By Proxy using the settings from your Google Apps Advanced DNS Settings page, with one modification

Private Registration is managed by Domains By Proxy. If you try to login using the exact credentials found on your Advanced DNS Settings page, your data is refused and the login fails. You can email DomainsByProxy for help, or use this tip: Their Customer Number differs by just one digit from the Google Sign-In Name.

Login to your Google Apps control panel and navigate to your Advanced DNS Settings page. Carefully note your Sign-In Name (an eight-digit number) and the Password.

Go to Domains By Proxy. When asked for Customer Number or Login-Name, type your Google Apps Sign-In Name, with this modification: Add 1 to the final digit (for example, 12345678 should become 12345679). Enter the password exactly. You will reach, by legitimate means, the Domains By Proxy account for your domain name. Choose the option to stop Private Registration.

60-Day Lockdown Now Less Onerous

Until recently, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) prohibited transfer of a domain name during the first 60 days of initial registration or during the first 60 days after you changed registrars. This was a security measure meant to discourage domain-name speculators.

On June 1, 2012 ICANN updated its Policy on Transfer of Registrations between Registrars. The 60-day lockdown is now imposed only when the transfer would change the registrant’s Organization Name or First/Last Name. That covers the majority of cases of domain hijacking through identity theft.

ICANN Says Google is an Accredited Domain Registrar

When you sign up with Google Apps, and through that flow purchase a domain name, the name is configured by the partner registrar (GoDaddy or eNom). The advertising leads customers to believe we retain full control of the domain name at the external registrar's site. Google publishes many Help pages which emphasize they are not an accredited registrar. For example, on Learn More About Google's Domain Registration Partners, Google says plainly:

Since Google doesn't register or host domain names, we've partnered with GoDaddy and eNom to offer domain registration and hosting services to our customers. If you do not own a domain name and are interested in using Google Apps for your business, you can purchase your domain through GoDaddy.com or eNom.com while registering for Google Apps.

GoDaddy and eNom, as expected, appear on the list of ICANN-Accredited Registrars. But wait, what is this? Google Inc. also appears on the list, contradicting the company's published words. If Google is a registrar, could they not just sell us domain names directly? It would improve on the current structure of Google Apps, which lacks transparency. Clients are shocked to learn they don't deal with the separate organizations, but with the partnership and its special department – a department with unwritten rules.

Better Business Bureau

BBB Red Alert for Google

! There is an alert for this business !

If you need an advocate, file a consumer complaint with the Better Business Bureau. On that site, select Check out a business or charity, then search for Google, Inc. (you must include Inc.). Click the exact-match at the top of the list.

The BBB has a red alert out for Google, Inc. (screenshot, right). During the last three years, 1666 complaints were filed against the company, with 433 complaints closed during the past 12 months. The reference point is January 2015 (the statistics fluctuate over time). Source: BBB Customer Complaints Summary for Google, Inc.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) prosecuted Google for privacy violations surrounding a social networking tool called Google Buzz. The FTC described the problems thus: Options for declining or leaving Google Buzz were ineffective, and the controls were confusing and difficult to find. Source: BBB Overview for Google, Inc. Google has not outgrown this tendency: mendacious controls now dominate Google Apps.

Epilogue

While awaiting replies from GDomains, I composed new lyrics to Bing Crosby's song Getting Nowhere:

Getting Nowhere
Original Artist: Bing Crosby (Blue Skies)
Adaptation below © Tuum Est

A Google App with lots of speed

Is surely bound to fail:

For morning, noon and evening

Forum answers won't dovetail.

We stumble round in circles,

Waste precious time in circles

Getting nowhere.

Nooo-where …

Support teams in a treadmill cage:

Busy squirrels, around they go.

You'd think they would be in a rage

But seems they do not know –

How a client base can recognize

The risk of Google Docs and Drive

When answers take us nowhere.

Nooo-where …

The Google App's a carousel;

Clients end up heavy hearted.

We ride all day, but sad to say

We wind up where we started

So concentrate and clear your mind

Of schemes that never last:

Or you'll wake up some day and find

Your chances are all past.

We've been running around in circles,

Running around in circles,

Getting nowhere –

Getting nowhere very fast.

Georgena S. Sil
Saskatoon, Canada
Physicist & Technical Writer
Alumnus: University of British Columbia
TuumEstContact@protonmail.com

Copyright © 2008-2018 Georgena Sil. All Rights Reserved.