Custom Domain Purchase - Getting By Without "Buy a domain"

Now that custom domain publishing is once again available, though without the option to buy a domain through Blogger, too many anxious Blogger blog owners are asking the obvious question
How do I buy a domain?
Not a lot of blog owners want to be told
Contact the registrar of your choice.
The backup to "Buy a domain" would be to buy a domain directly from a registrar - however, this presents too many challenges to the casual blog owner.

(Update 2012/10/09): "Buy a domain for your blog" is once again part of the Publishing wizard.

Fortunately, there is a substitute to "Buy a domain", available through Google. Google Apps - which is the support organisation for "Buy a domain" itself - provides the option to buy a domain, along with the Google Apps Dashboard. Google Apps does not use easy to remember URLs, unfortunately.

To use the Google Apps equivalent of "Buy a domain", you start from the "Home Page" for Google Apps.
http://google.com/a/domain
This currently redirects to
https://www.google.com/a/cpanel/standard/new3
which is titled
Get started with Google Apps for free
From here, you find the all important advice
Don't have a domain yet?
No Problem. You can register a new domain starting from $8 a year.
accompanied by the button "Find domain".

Hitting the "Find domain" button, you get a display that's similar in functionality to "Buy a domain" - except the pulldown list of available Top Level Domains is currently a bit different from the selections offered by "Buy a domain".

To get a better selection of Top Level Domains, you'll have to go to
https://www.google.com/a/signup/?hl=en&source=gafb-globalnav-en
Here you will have to fill out the "You and your business" form, and hit "Next". The next display will start with "Check Availability" - and will provide a much longer TLD selection list.

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