|Type of business||Public|
|Traded as||NYSE: GDDY|
|Headquarters||Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.|
|Industry||Domain Registrar, Web hosting, SSL certificates, small businesses|
|Net income||US$−75,600,000 (2015)|
|Employees||5000+ (2015) |
|Alexa rank||120 (November 2016[update])|
GoDaddy Inc. is a publicly traded Internet domain registrar and web hosting company. As of January 2016, GoDaddy was said to have had more than 61 million domain names under management, making it the world's largest ICANN-accredited registrar. As of December 2014, GoDaddy served approximately 13 million customers and had 4,908 employees worldwide. The company is known for its celebrity spokespeople, Super Bowl ads and as being an online provider for small businesses. In addition to a postseason college football bowl game, it previously sponsored NASCAR. It has been involved in several controversies related to security and privacy.
In addition to domain registration and hosting, GoDaddy also sells e-business related software and services.
- 1 History
- 2 Infrastructure
- 3 Awards
- 4 Marketing
- 5 Controversies
- 5.1 Backing of SOPA and resultant boycott
- 5.2 Suspension of Seclists.org and purchase of No Daddy
- 5.3 Shutdown of RateMyCop.com
- 5.4 Deletion of FamilyAlbum.com
- 5.5 Implementation of Selective DNS Blackout policy
- 5.6 Animal rights
- 5.7 China domains
- 5.8 Service outage
- 5.9 Verisign lawsuit
- 5.10 Super Bowl XLIX Puppy Ad
- 5.11 Other
- 6 IPO and private equity
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
GoDaddy was founded in 1997 by Baltimore, Maryland entrepreneur Bob Parsons. Prior to GoDaddy, Parsons sold his financial software services company, "Parsons Technology, Inc." to Intuit for $64m in 1994. Parsons came out of his retirement in 1997 to launch Jomax Technologies, which later became GoDaddy Group Inc. GoDaddy received a strategic investment from top venture capital funds, KKR, Silver Lake, and Technology Crossover Ventures.
In 1999, a group of employees at Jomax Technologies were brainstorming and decided to change the company name. An employee said, "How about Big Daddy?" However, the domain name had already been purchased. Parsons replied, "How about Go Daddy?" The name was available, so he bought it. Parsons said the company stuck with the name because it made people smile and remember it.
- In July 2012, GoDaddy announced it would acquire Outright for an undisclosed amount.
- In August 2013, GoDaddy announced it would acquire Locu for $70 million.
- In September 2013, GoDaddy acquired domain marketplace Afternic from NameMedia. GoDaddy will also acquire domain parking service SmartName and business name generator NameFind.
- On October 15, 2013, GoDaddy acquired web hosting service provider Media Temple. In a newsletter sent to its customers, Media Temple said that they "will continue operating as an independent and autonomous company."
- In July 2014, GoDaddy acquired Canary, a small Cambridge-based smart calendar service.
- On August 20, 2014, GoDaddy acquired Mad Mimi, a Brooklyn-based email marketing service.
- In April 2015, GoDaddy acquired Elto, "a San Francisco-based startup which had been offering a marketplace that helped connect business owners and other non-technical people to web developers who could help them establish and improve their web presence." 
- In April 2015 and November 2015, GoDaddy acquired the domain portfolios of Marchex and Worldwide Media respectively.
- On May 17, 2016, GoDaddy acquired FreedomVoice for $42 million in cash. FreedomVoice is a provider of cloud-based VoIP phone systems across the United States.
- On December 6, 2016, GoDaddy announced its acquisition of Host Europe Group.
GoDaddy has a 65,000 square foot data center in The United States. This data center is connected to an optical fiber DWDM Ethernet backbone with a speed of 20 Gigabits per second. In 2013, GoDaddy reached more than 55 million domain names under management. At that time, GoDaddy was reported as the largest ICANN-accredited registrar in the world, at the size of four times their closest competitor. They also have a 270,000 square foot facility in Phoenix, Arizona.
- 2010 – BBB of Great Arizona Business Ethics Awards finalist.
- 2011 – Inaugural Bulby Awards' "Bulby Award" received by GoDaddy's X.CO for Best Use of a Single Letter Domain.
- 2011 – SC Magazine's "Best Security Team" Rating. The SC Magazine Awards were organized to honor the professionals, companies and products that help fend off the myriad of security threats confronted in today's corporate world. GoDaddy was also a 2012 finalist.
- 2011 – International MarCom Competition's winner of (3) awards; creativity in the 2011 Super Bowl Campaign, the .CO Product Launch and the GoDaddy Cares story.
- 2011 – Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 500/5000” list for an eighth consecutive year.
- 2011 – Phoenix Business Journal's "Best Places to Work in the Valley" for the eighth consecutive year. In 2011, GoDaddy ranked #4 among extra large-sized companies.
- 2011 – Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility for GoDaddy's Arizona, Iowa offices. As a recipient, GoDaddy ranks in the top 20 percent.
- 2012 – Fortune 100 "Best Companies to Work For" honoree.
- 2012 – Gold Stevie Award for the Year in Computer Services."
- 2012 – Domain Wire's annual survey's "Best Registrar" award with 43% of the vote.
- 2012 – Nominee for the 2012 Small Business Influencer Awards in Corporations by Small Biz Trends.
Parsons refers to the marketing as "GoDaddy-esque", which he describes as "fun, edgy, and a bit inappropriate".
- Candice Michelle
- Most of GoDaddy's early television ads starred former WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) wrestler Candice Michelle, usually appearing in a sexually suggestive manner. She has been referred to as "Miss GoDaddy.com" or "The GoDaddy Girl" by fans and on WWE television shows, where she also does the "GoDaddy Dance" (twirling her arms around her body while slowly turning) as part of her wrestling gimmick.
- Danica Patrick
- In 2006, GoDaddy began sponsoring IndyCar driver Danica Patrick, who subsequently joined the lineup and began playing a prominent role in the company's commercials.
- Jean-Claude Van Damme
- In 2013, Jean-Claude Van Damme starred in a series of GoDaddy commercials as a means for the company to stray away from its raunchy image. In the commercials, Van Damme is seen doing the splits while playing musical instruments before he appears upside down in front of the business owner and whispers, "It's Go Time."
Past GoDaddy spokespeople
In March 2009, GoDaddy announced professional poker player Vanessa Rousso as the newest GoDaddy Girl. Vanessa competed in the GoDaddy sponsored NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship the same month, finishing second and making history by being the first woman to make it to the finals.
Also in March 2009, GoDaddy added pro-golfer Anna Rawson, bringing the GoDaddy Girl spokeswomen count to four. "She is edgy, she is fun, she is hotter than firecrackers, she is very clever and everything we look for in a GoDaddy Girl", Parsons said of Rawson at a news conference in Phoenix.
In August 2009, another GoDaddy Girl was announced. A Russian native, Marina Orlova is an online linguist, explaining the origin of words on her HotforWords.com Web site. A New Yorker magazine blogger called her the sexiest philologist in the world.
In 2010, GoDaddy announced it is adding "America's Toughest Trainer" Jillian Michaels as a GoDaddy Girl. Michaels joins race car driver Danica Patrick as a GoDaddy Girl, a move that Parsons said should attract new customers. Michaels is a well-known celebrity, famous for her role as a health and wellness coach on NBC's hit show, "The Biggest Loser".
Orange County Choppers
An order was placed with Orange County Choppers for a custom motorcycle to raise contributions for charity and was revealed in Miami, Florida. It featured the models Candice and Danica. The episode was documented by the reality show American Chopper episode number 82.
Super Bowl XLII advertisement
On August 13, 2007, Parsons announced that GoDaddy may be sitting out Super Bowl XLII. "There's always the possibility that we might not be able to get an appropriately edgy advertisement approved", he said. "All things considered, there's a strong argument for staying on the sidelines this year and taking that Super Bowl advertising money and using it for other opportunities", he added. However, on January 28, 2008, during WWE Raw in a reverse of field, it was disclosed by GoDaddy spokesperson (and WWE wrestler) Candice Michelle that there will be an advertisement during the game, which featured a "behind the scenes" look into that ad. Once again, GoDaddy went through more than a dozen submissions before it was able to get a commercial approved by Fox, the same network that had pulled its Super Bowl XXXIX advertisement before its second scheduled airing. GoDaddy had hoped to broadcast a spot called "Exposure" featuring GoDaddy Girl Danica Patrick and animatronic beavers. But Fox deemed the spot too racy for prime time television and told Parsons it would not air it unless he removed the word "beaver". Parsons refused, and GoDaddy instead aired a completely different commercial, called "Spot On". The spot was essentially an "Ad to an Ad" and told viewers to go to the company's Web site to see "Exposure". "Spot On" aired in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLII, and the company quickly deemed it an enormous success. GoDaddy logged more than one million views of the "Exposure" advertisement before the game ended and reported 1.5 million visits to the GoDaddy.com Web site.
The 2008 GoDaddy advertisement has been both maligned and praised. Ad Week's Barbara Lippert described it a "poorly produced scene in a living room where people are gathered to watch the Super Bowl. As we watch them watch, a guy at his computer in the corner of the room drags the crowd over to GoDaddy.com to view the banned ad instead." But Lippert, like others, also acknowledges the shrewdness of the public relations strategy, saying "it will probably produce a Pavlovian response in getting actual viewers in their own living rooms to do the same." GoDaddy's Super Bowl XLI advertisement was criticized in The New York Times as being "cheesy"; in National Review as "raunchy, 'Girls-Gone-Wild' style"; and "just sad" by Barbara Lippert in Adweek, who gave the advertisement a "D" grade. However, Reprise Media, reviewing the success of Super Bowl advertising in getting potential customers online, listed the 2007 commercial as one of only eight "Touchdown"-worthy ads among the day's high-priced advertisers. IAG Research, which rated the effectiveness of likeability and memorability of the ads, ranked GoDaddy's spot as second for most-recalled.
Super Bowl XLIII advertisements
GoDaddy purchased two Super Bowl spots for different commercials, both of which NBC approved. The commercials featured GoDaddy Girl and IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick. In "Shower", Danica takes a shower with Simona Fusco Stratten as three college students control the women's maneuvers from a computer. "Baseball" is a spoof of the steroids scandal. While "Shower" won GoDaddy's online vote, "Baseball" was the most popular of the Super Bowl. Both helped increase domain registrations 110 percent above 2008 post Super Bowl levels. GoDaddy posted Internet-only versions of its commercials during the game. These are extended versions with more risque content.
"Baseball" was the most watched Super Bowl commercial according to TiVo, Inc. According to comScore, GoDaddy ranked first in advertiser Web site follow-through. Rob Goulding, head of business-to-business markets for Google, offered an in-depth analysis of Super Bowl spots that aired during Sunday's championship game. He said the most successful were multichannel-oriented, driving viewers to Web sites and "focusing on conversion as never before". GoDaddy experienced significant Web traffic and a strong "hangover" effect of viewer interest in the days that followed due to a provocative "teaser" advertisement pointing to the Web, Goulding said.
In 2010, GoDaddy was again the presenting sponsor for the live race broadcast and the primary sponsor for IndyCar driver Danica Patrick. And, for the first time ever, GoDaddy broadcast user-generated commercials as part of its advertising strategy. The top three winners of GoDaddy's "Create Your Own Commercial" contest had their ads air during the race broadcast. Creators of the first place advertisement "Go Momma" received $100,000 in cash. The commercial features a mother who creates a Web site with GoDaddy in order to save time and still keep in touch with her family. In the thirty-second story, she posts her cherished family recipes on her Web site, even though she's not tech-savvy. The grand prize winner of the user-generated content contest is not only cleavage-free and smarm-free, it also celebrates an empowered woman of a certain age who uses GoDaddy to help her solve a family problem.
In 2009, for a third consecutive year, GoDaddy was the presenting sponsor of the Indianapolis 500 race broadcast on ABC. GoDaddy also debuted a new commercial called "Speeding" during the Indy 500. The commercial features Danica Patrick getting pulled over for speeding by a female cop wanting to be a "GoDaddy Girl". The advertisement teases to an edgier Web version that drove a 570% traffic increase to GoDaddy.com. 
For the Las Vegas race in 2011, GoDaddy launched the GoDaddy IndyCar Challenge where the only participant, driver Dan Wheldon, would have won $2.5m each for himself and randomly selected fan, Ann Babenco, if he won the race, starting from last place. A 15-car pileup, 12 laps into the race, injured 4 drivers and killed Wheldon.
Despite the tragedy (Wheldon had been set for the 2012 season with Andretti Autosport in the renumbered #27 Chevrolet), GoDaddy will return to Andretti Autosport with second-year driver James Hinchcliffe. GoDaddy's commercials with Andretti Autosport will focus on the "Mario Andretti Advice Show" gimmick, and later in the season Hinchliffe's "Mayor of Hinchtown" Web promotion is expected. However, in 2014, the #27 will end its GoDaddy sponsorship.
Super Bowl XLIV advertisements
In September 2009, GoDaddy announced it would be returning advertisers in the 2010 Super Bowl, purchasing two spots. The commercials "Spa" and "News" starred GoDaddy Girl and racecar driver Danica Patrick. In "Spa," Patrick is getting a lavish massage when the masseuse breaks into a spontaneous GoDaddy Girl audition. The second advertisement called "News" has news anchors conducting a 'gotcha' interview with GoDaddy Girl Danica Patrick about commercials known for being too hot for television.
According to Akamai, there was a large spike in Internet traffic late in the fourth quarter of the game. This spike was tied to GoDaddy's "News" advertisement airing. CEO Bob Parsons said GoDaddy had "a tremendous surge in Web traffic, sustained the spike, converted new customers and shot overall sales off the chart".
A fourth spokesman, with commercials which are not sexually suggestive, has appeared in ads starting in 2008. These advertisements, which air in NASCAR broadcasts, feature NASCAR Nationwide Series owner Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who designed, owns, and occasionally drives the #5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet in the series. GoDaddy's sponsorship of the team includes five races in 2008 with Mark Martin and Ron Fellows (who won the NAPA Auto Parts 200 in the GoDaddy Chevrolet), sharing duties in the races with Earnhardt Jr. Junior designed the paint scheme for the car, which in true Earnhardt tradition is dominated by black with green and orange (the colors of GoDaddy). GoDaddy.com also has sponsored the Randy Moss Motorsports (aka Morgan-Dollar Motorsports) truck when Landon Cassill drives it, both in the original #46 and later as #81, as Cassill is a Hendrick Motorsports Developmental Driver, which includes selected Nationwide Series races in Earnhardt's #5 car.
GoDaddy has also sponsored Brad Keselowski in the #25 for Hendrick Motorsports on a limited basis in the Sprint Cup series (owing to the "part-time rookie exemption" to a four-car limit). After a successful 2008 season, GoDaddy is expanding its 2009 NASCAR sponsorship with the JR Motorsports organisation, sponsoring 20 Nationwide Series races as primary sponsor, split between the #5 and #88 teams. The #88 deal gave Keselowski a full 35-race NASCAR Nationwide Series sponsorship for 2009 split with Delphi and Unilever. GoDaddy will also be the primary sponsor for seven races in the Sprint Cup Series with Keselowski driving. GoDaddy.com signed a one-year deal with Darlington Raceway to sponsor the 53rd Annual Rebel 500, the fifth-oldest race on the Sprint Cup circuit. Keselowski got his third Nationwide victory at Dover – his first in the #88 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet. In the same season, Keselowski scored a second Nationwide victory in the #88 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet at the first ever NASCAR race at Iowa Speedway and then at Michigan.
For 2010, the Hendrick/GoDaddy association continued; Danica Patrick drove a 12 race schedule in the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, while GoDaddy.com was also the primary sponsor for Mark Martin in the #5 Chevrolet Impala for most of the 2010 and 2011 seasons. 
In 2012, Danica Patrick moved from the IndyCar Racing Series to race full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in the #7 and part-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the #10 for Stewart Haas Racing where GoDaddy.com was the primary sponsor for the full season on both cars. After finishing 10th in the Nationwide Series standings with one pole award in 2012, Patrick moved to full-time in the Sprint Cup Series in 2013 where GoDaddy sponsored her full season schedule. Patrick rewarded GoDaddy for their sponsorship by winning the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500, becoming the first woman to do so. GoDaddy has chosen not to continue its sponsorship of NASCAR in 2016. The company would like to shift sponsorship to avenues with greater international reach. However, GoDaddy is trying to retain Patrick on a personal service contract.
From 2011 to 2015, GoDaddy was the sponsor of the GoDaddy Bowl, a postseason college football bowl game played in Mobile, Alabama, which was previously branded as the GMAC Bowl before GMAC took TARP funding in 2009. The game matched teams from the Sun Belt Conference and the Mid-American Conference. The bowl was renamed the Dollar General Bowl after the variety store chain Dollar General took over its sponsorship in 2016.
In the last few years, GoDaddy has made many donations to local, regional, national, and international charities, including those that focus on domestic violence, child abuse, disabled children, teenage homelessness, Parkinson's research, breast cancer, and animal shelters. Major recipients of GoDaddy contributions over the past several years include the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Phoenix Children's Hospital, the Arizona Humane Society, the Phoenix Zoo, Chrysalis, HomeBase Youth Services, and the Salvation Army. GoDaddy's employees have also participated in a series of events to raise money for charitable causes. In 2009 GoDaddy donated $50,000 to the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA in Arizona when the organization requested only $1,000. GoDaddy also participated in the 11th Annual Arizona Humane Society Pet Telethon as the title sponsor. The company matched online contributions and donated a check for $100,000. In December 2009 at GoDaddy's annual Holiday Party, Executive Chairman and Founder Bob Parsons and Danica Patrick announced that GoDaddy would be donating $500,000 to the Phoenix-based UMOM New Day Center to fund the Danica Patrick GoDaddy.com Domestic Violence Center. In November 2008, more than 700 GoDaddy employees participated in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Walk to Cure Diabetes in Tempe, Arizona. Other GoDaddy employee efforts have included the annual Toys for Tots drive, as well as donations to St. Mary's Food Bank during the holiday season. In April 2006, the company donated $10,000 to the OpenSSH development program, which is managed by OpenBSD. They have also donated $10,000 in March 2006 to Perverted-Justice.com in which volunteers pose online as minors to find child predators and report them to law enforcement.
Backing of SOPA and resultant boycott
On December 22, 2011, a thread was started on the social news website Reddit, discussing the identity of supporters of the United States Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which included GoDaddy. GoDaddy subsequently released additional statements supporting SOPA. A boycott and transfer of domains was proposed. This quickly spread across the Internet, gained support, and was followed by a proposed Boycott GoDaddy day on December 29, 2011. One strong supporter of this action was Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh, who threatened that the organization would remove over 1,000 domains from GoDaddy if they continued their support of SOPA. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales also announced that all Wikipedia domains would be moved away from GoDaddy as their position on SOPA was "unacceptable". After a brief campaign on Reddit, imgur owner Alan Schaaf transferred his domain from GoDaddy.
GoDaddy pulled its support for SOPA on December 23, releasing a statement saying "GoDaddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it." Later that day, CEO Warren Adelman couldn’t commit to changing GoDaddy's position on the record in Congress when asked, but said “I’ll take that back to our legislative guys, but I agree that’s an important step.” when pressed, he said “We’re going to step back and let others take leadership roles.” He felt that the public statement removing their support would be sufficient for now, though further steps would be considered. Further outrage was due to the fact that many Internet sites and domain registrars would be subject to shutdowns under SOPA, but GoDaddy is in a narrow class of exempted businesses that would have immunity, where many other domain operators would not.
On December 25, 2011 (Christmas Day), GoDaddy lost a net 16,191 domains as a result of the boycott. However, on December 29 (the day of the proposed boycott), GoDaddy gained a net 20,748 domains.
Suspension of Seclists.org and purchase of No Daddy
On January 24, 2007, GoDaddy deactivated the domain of computer security site Seclists.org, taking 250,000 pages of security content offline. The shutdown resulted from a complaint from MySpace to GoDaddy regarding 56,000 user names and passwords posted a week earlier to the full-disclosure mailing list and archived on the Seclists.org site as well as many other websites. Seclists.org administrator Gordon Lyon, who goes by the handle "Fyodor", provided logs to CNET News.com showing GoDaddy de-activated the domain 52 seconds after leaving him a voicemail and he had to go to great lengths to get the site reactivated. GoDaddy general counsel Christine Jones stated that GoDaddy's terms of service "reserves the right to terminate your access to the services at any time, without notice, for any reason whatsoever." The site seclists.org is now hosted with Linode. The suspension of seclists.org led Lyon to create NoDaddy.com, a consumer activist website where dissatisfied GoDaddy customers and whistleblowers from GoDaddy's staff share their experiences. On July 12, 2011, an article in The Register reported that, shortly after Bob Parsons' sale of GoDaddy, the company purchased gripe site No Daddy. The site had returned a top 5 result on Google for a search for GoDaddy.
Shutdown of RateMyCop.com
On March 11, 2008, GoDaddy shut down RateMyCop.com — a RateMyProfessors-type site where people would comment on their interactions with law enforcement officers. Some reports said there have been complaints from police. A GoDaddy spokesperson said, "Basically, he was paying for compact car, when he really needed a semi-truck." The registrar for the name, Name.com, continued to allow the DNS to resolve, and is now hosted at Lunarpages. GoDaddy stated the reason for shutting down the Web site had nothing to do with censorship or complaints but that the site was receiving too many simultaneous connections. In 2006, GoDaddy locked access to the Irish Web site RateYourSolicitor.com after the Irish high court issued an order to remove offensive material about a barrister from the site.
Deletion of FamilyAlbum.com
On December 19, 2006, GoDaddy received a third party complaint of invalid domain contact information in the WHOIS database for the domain FamilyAlbum.com. GoDaddy wrote a letter to the owner of FamilyAlbum.com saying, "Whenever we receive a complaint, we are required by ICANN regulations to initiate an investigation as to whether the contact data displaying in the WHOIS database is valid data or not... On 12/19/2006 we sent a notice to you at the admin/tech contact email address and the account email address informing you of invalid data in breach of the domain registration agreement and advising you to update the information or risk cancellation of the domain. The contact information was not updated within the specified period of time and we canceled the domain." The editor of "Domain Name Wire" said that since domain names are valuable it was reasonable to expect that the registrar would try to contact the domain owner by phone or postal mail. On February 28, 2007, GoDaddy offered to get the domain name back for the previous owner if he would indemnify GoDaddy from legal action by the new registrant. GoDaddy stated that the new owner paid $18.99 for the domain, the price of a backorder, not a regular registration. On November 2, 2007, Domain Name Wire reported that it appears that GoDaddy no longer cancels domains for invalid WHOIS. The editor on Domain Name Wire received a message from a reader who is trying to acquire a domain with obviously false WHOIS information. The message from GoDaddy said, "The domain has been suspended due to invalid WHOIS. The domain will remain in suspension through expiration, including the registry's redemption period, unless the owner updates the contact information before that time."
Implementation of Selective DNS Blackout policy
In July, 2011, GoDaddy introduced a policy of blocking DNS queries from some outside DNS servers, in order to prevent other DNS queries from being too slow. Among other things, this prevents some bots from visiting websites, forcing some search engines to exclude domains hosted with GoDaddy. This policy affects search engine ranking for various GoDaddy customers who have multiple domains with different registrars. GoDaddy has refused to comment on the policy or the perception that their servers cannot handle the load or they are giving preference to their platinum level customers. It has also interfered with projects that collect Internet statistics.
On August 16, 2011, after the policy was introduced, it appears that GoDaddy blocked recursive DNS servers in China, preventing Chinese visitors from reaching websites using GoDaddy DNS hosting.[not in citation given]
In 2011, animal rights groups including PETA complained when a video of Bob Parsons shooting and killing an elephant at night in Zimbabwe was made by Parsons and posted on his personal blog. In response, Parsons stated "The tribal authorities request that I and others like me, patrol the fields before and during the harvest". PETA said they would be closing their account with GoDaddy.
In March 2010, GoDaddy stopped registering .cn domains (China) due to the high amount of personal information that is required to register in that country. Some called it a public relations campaign, since it closely followed Google's revolt in China. GoDaddy’s top lawyer Christine Jones told Congress, “We were having to contact Chinese users to ask for their personal information and begrudgingly give it to Chinese authorities. We decided we didn’t want to become an agent of the Chinese government.”
On September 10, 2012, a major networking failure caused by corrupted router tables resulted in a DNS outage intermittently affecting millions of customers' sites for a period of 4.5 hours. Initial reports attributed it to a DDOS attack. This claim was disputed by Wagner, who stated that the isolated incident was due to internal mistakes that led to corrupt data tables. Wagner stood by the quality of GoDaddy's infrastructure, citing a 99.999% uptime. GoDaddy later said in an apology e-mail to its customers on September 14, 2012, that the outage was due to the corruption of router data tables, confirming indications that millions of web sites and e-mails were affected.
In 2002, GoDaddy sued VeriSign for domain slamming and again in 2003 over its Site Finder service. This latter suit caused controversy over VeriSign's role as the sole maintainer of the .com and the .net top-level domains. VeriSign shut down Site Finder after receiving a letter from ICANN ordering it to comply with a request to disable the service. In 2006, GoDaddy was sued by Web.com for patent infringement.
Super Bowl XLIX Puppy Ad
On January 27, 2015 GoDaddy released its Super Bowl ad on YouTube. Called "Journey Home", the commercial featured a Retriever puppy named Buddy who was bounced out of the back of a truck. After making a journey home his owners are relieved because they just sold him on their website. GoDaddy claims the ad was supposed to be funny and an attempt to make fun of all the puppies shown in Super Bowl ads. Most notably, Budweiser's famous Super Bowl ad also featured a Retriever puppy. The ad found very few fans from the online community. Animal advocates took to social media calling the ad disgusting, callous and that the commercial advocated puppy mills. An online petition collected 35,000 signatures in just a few hours. All ads were listed as "Private" on their YouTube channel.
GoDaddy's CEO, Blake Irving, wrote a blog later that day promising that the commercial would not air during the Super Bowl. He wrote on his blog "At the end of the day, our purpose at GoDaddy is to help small businesses around the world build a successful online presence. We hoped our ad would increase awareness of that cause. However, we underestimated the emotional response. And we heard that loud and clear." He goes on to say that Buddy was purchased by a reputable breeder and is part of the GoDaddy family as Chief Companion Officer.
The rival domain name registrar NameCheap claimed that GoDaddy was in violation of ICANN rules by providing incomplete information in order to hinder the protest moves of domain names from GoDaddy to NameCheap, an accusation which GoDaddy denied, claiming that it was following its standard business practice to prevent WHOIS abuse.
IPO and private equity
On April 12, 2006, Marketwatch reported that GoDaddy.com, Inc., had hired Lehman Brothers to manage an initial stock offering that could raise more than $100 million and value the company at several times that amount. On May 12, 2006, GoDaddy filed an S-1 registration statement prior to an initial public offering. On August 8, 2006, Bob Parsons, announced that he had withdrawn the company's IPO filing due to "market uncertainties".
In September 2010, GoDaddy put itself up for auction. GoDaddy called off the auction several weeks later, despite reports that bids exceeded the asking price of $1.5 billion to $2 billion. On June 24, 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported that private-equity firms KKR and Silver Lake Partners, along with a third investor, were nearing a deal to buy the company for between $2–2.5 billion. On July 1, 2011, GoDaddy confirmed that KKR, Silver Lake Partners, and Technology Crossover Ventures had closed the deal. Although the purchase price was not officially announced it was reported to be $2.25 billion, for 65% of the company.
In June 2014, GoDaddy once again filed a 100 million dollar IPO with the Security and Exchange Commission. The filing gave an inside look into GoDaddy's finances and showed that the company has not made a profit since 2009 and since 2012 has experienced a total loss of $531 million. Along with the IPO announcement, GoDaddy's founder Bob Parsons announced he is stepping down as Executive Chairman though he will remain on the board. Current CEO Blake Irving, joined GoDaddy on January 6, 2013.
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Another Super Bowl, another cheesy commercial for GoDaddy, the Web site registrar operated by the GoDaddy Group. This time, there was a wild party in the office of the GoDaddy marketing department. "Everybody wants to work in marketing", a character says with a smirk. Hey, GoDaddy, go get Mommy—maybe she knows how to make a halfway decent Super Bowl spot. Agency: created internally.
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The GoDaddy commercial that garnered enormous reaction (much negative) last year, with the buxom babe wearing a skimpy T-shirt with the logo across her chest, was tame in comparison to the raunchy, "Girls-Gone-Wild style of this year's advertisement. The fact that the advertisement caused such a stir last year probably helped determine the content of this one.
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