If you’re planning to rebrand your company’s domain name or DBA, you should also change your Google Apps setup to match the new brand.

While Google provides a way to add rebranded names as domain aliases, this option presents significant problems for businesses when doing so.

Most of our clients come to us for a domain migration after they have implemented the alias option and are frustrated by the various gaps in service quality that arise from this method of Google Apps domain management. Below are some of the issues we’ve learned about while working with clients who were rebranding and in need of a new primary domain instead of an alias.

Branding Confusion
When you use an alias domain, the primary domain continues to be visible in a number of ways.  Namely, the primary domain will still appear in emails sent from the alias addresses. These messages sent from domain alias addresses say that they are sent via the old domain, so recipients of your messages will see both domain names.

Limited Functionality
Certain mail clients, including the iPhone, don’t work with domain aliases.  All messages sent from iPhones will continue to be sent from the primary address, even if you enable “auto-reply from received address” within Gmail.  Additionally, the primary domain name will be viewable when a user sends a calendar invite from those accounts, as well as when a Google Doc is shared from that account.

End-User Confusion
The primary domain’s usernames will continue to be required for login as well as registration for other Google Apps services.  Your employees may become confused as to what email they should use when signing up for things versus what email to invite to meetings or share docs, especially since using the alias address will trigger an “outside your domain” warning.

3rd-party integrations with Google OAuth
If you use a lot of applications within Google’s OAuth scheme, this becomes a huge problem. It takes a lot of peculiar steps to make a service recognize the association between an alias and primary address. Many services can’t handle this association at all, which leads to even more branding and end user confusion.

We are the Domain Alias Swap experts and have helped numerous clients with their Google Apps rebranding. Contact us to learn more.

Additional information is available from Google here.

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