“I take pride in the fact that we’re straight shooters. There are no tricks in what we do, just good old-fashioned business principles.”
Bob Parsons, Executive Chairman and Founder of GoDaddy.com
In 1997, Bob Parsons launched Jomax Technologies as a custom website development service. In 1999, employees of the company decided that Jomax needed a new name. After brainstorming, they chose “Big Daddy”, but discovered that bigdaddy.com was unavailable. Parsons himself suggested “Go Daddy”, which was available, and Godaddy.com, the largest internet domain registrar in the world, was born.
A few stats about the company, now:
- More than 40 product offerings, including domain hosting and e-business related software
- 10.6 million customers
- 53 million registered domains under management
- 3,000+ employees and 600 developers
- 9 facilities in Arizona, Iowa, Colorado, Washington D.C., California, and India
- Godaddy.com became the largest ICANN-accredited registrar on the web in April, 2005
GoDaddy has enjoyed as much controversy as it has success, and a large part of that has to do with the essence of the man that is Bob Parsons.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Bob Parsons grew up in a struggling family. Early jobs included factory work, pumping gasoline, construction, and delivering newspapers.
Parsons joined the United States Marine Corps and served as a rifleman in the 26th Marine regiment. In a Vietnam tour, he was wounded on duty and received the Combat Action Ribbon, the Vietnam Gallantry Cross, and the Purple Heart. Post-military, he attended the University of Baltimore and graduated magna cum laude with an accounting degree.
GoDaddy’s popularity and success skyrocketed in part because of its ability to package various products and services and sell them at low prices. But it was Parson’s unique approach to advertising that made it a household name.
Bob Parsons calls his special advertising technique “Go-Daddy-esque” and describes it as “fun, edgy, and a bit inappropriate”. The GoDaddy team uses attractive female spokesmodels referred to as “GoDaddy girls.”
This has been very successful in helping the company brand itself and create name recognition, and has obviously received much attention, both positive and negative.
GoDaddy supports numerous charitable institutions and causes:
PervertedJustice.com attempts to catch and prosecute online sexual predators
Juvenile Diabetes Research
Mary’s Food Bank
.Me Scholarship for high performing students
Most notable awards:
Phoenix Business Journal’s Best Places to Work in the Valley
Fortune 100 “Best Companies to Work For”
Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 500/5000” list
Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility
Gold Stevie Award for the Year in Computer Services
Domain Wire’s “Best Registrar”
Accusations of closing sites without alerting customers first, usually when controversial material is posted on these sites.
Accusations of imposing fines without informing customers of their policies.
In 2011, Bob Parsons posted a graphic video online that depicted him killing an elephant in Zimbabwe. After criticism from animal rights activists, he pointed out that the elephant had been problematic in destroying crops and that the meat from the animal would serve as food for the impoverished villagers.
GoDaddy supported SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and the result was a boycott by the internet community. Strong supporters of the boycott included Wikipedia and Cheez burger. On December 23, 2011, GoDaddy pulled its support for SOPA, stating “Go Daddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it”.
In 2006, GoDaddy hired Lehman Brothers to manage an initial stock offering and filed an S-1 registration statement to begin the process of an IPO. However, Bob Parsons withdrew the IPO filing on August 8, 2006.
In September, 2010, GoDaddy put itself up for auction but called it off several weeks later. Reports indicated that bids exceeded two billion dollars.
What will GoDaddy and Bob Parsons do next? It’s almost impossible to say. But one thing is certain. Under Bob Parson’s leadership, GoDaddy is established as a daring, visionary company that considers risk a “good old fashioned business principle.”