GoDaddy

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Gdlogo.jpg
Type: Private
Industry: Internet, Registrar
Founded: USA, 1997
Founder(s): Bob Parsons
Headquarters: 14455 N. Hayden Rd.
Suite 219,
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Country: USA
Employees: 2450 (2009)
Revenue: 610 million dollars (2009)
Website: GoDaddy.com
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png@GoDaddy
Key People
Bob Parsons, Founder

Blake Irving, CEO
Tim Ruiz, VP Domain Services
Michael Zimmerman, EVP and CFO
James Bladel, Director of Policy Planning

GoDaddy is a web hosting and internet domain registrar, and the main concern of GoDaddy Group Inc. Founded in 1997 by Bob Parsons, GoDaddy has become the world’s largest domain register company accredited by ICANN and has more than 40 million domain names under its management.[1] Along with hosting and registration services the company also provides e-business solutions and services like: email, website developing, Internet marketing services, SSL and security services.

GoDaddy is known for its racy superbowl advertising campaign, which began in 2005; since then it has been continuing to sponsor various sporting events.[2] CEO Bob Parsons has called GoDaddy's advertising "GoDaddy-esque"; which he defines as "fun, edgy and a bit inappropriate".[3]

The company filed for an IPO to go public in 1996, but later withdrew its filing.[4] During early September, 2010 it was reported that GoDaddy was up for sale and could fetch as much as $1 billion USD. However, during late October, 2010, The Wall Street Journal reported that the company took itself off the market and pulled out of a potential sale.[5]

Domain Name Wire carries out an annual poll asking, “Which domain registrar do you think is best overall”, GoDaddy won 47% of the vote but more notably won 75% of the vote of those respondents that have domain portfolios of 500 or more domains.[6]

Contents

Applications for New gTLDs

GoDaddy CEO Warren Adelman confirmed the company's application for the .godaddy, .home and .casa top level domain names (TLDs). According to Adelman, they applied for the .home and .casa because of the multiple meanings that both strings offer, which can be used in personal contexts and by entities in the real estate industry.[7][8] It appears that the company plans to manage its registry operations in-house.[9]

In March 2013, GoDaddy announced that it was dropping the ".com" from its logo in anticipation of New gTLDs. Many heralded this as a great endorsement a month ahead of when the first TLDs are to be approved for implementation by ICANN,[10] while others saw it as a sign that the ".com" would continue to be assumed to be dominant in a New gTLD environment and was thus unnecessary anyways.[11] The company also announced that it was withdrawing its applications for .casa and .home, and only sticking with its Brand TLD application for .godaddy. It was noted that it was withdrawing its applications to focus on its core registrar business, thereby removing competition with competitive applicants it could work with as future registries and eliminating concerns that it will promote its own TLDs ahead of others'. The announcements were made at an event, Registry Days, meant to open a dialogue between the world's largest registrar and new gTLd applicants.[12] The applications were withdrawn in time to receive a 70% refund for each of the $185,000 application fees.

ICANN

  • In 2008, GoDaddy has come under fire from ICANN due to its previous practice of locking down domain information for 60 days after the info is edited or updated. The practice meant that updating one's contact information could've potentially prevented a domain transfer to one of GoDaddy's competitors.[13]
  • In 2007, GoDaddy agreed to take over RegisterFly's entire portfolio of 850,000 domains.[14] The latter lost its ICANN accreditation due to internal conflicts in the company that were causing its renewal and other automated services not to function properly.[15] GoDaddy's move was enthusiastically welcomed by ICANN, which was put in a critical bind by the situation.
  • Over the years, GoDaddy has been the victim of numerous scammers sending out fake ICANN related notices to their customers.[16]
  • In 2004, GoDaddy supported ICANN throughout a legal battle between it and Verisign over the latter's SiteFinder and Wait Listing Services, even agreeing to pay up to $100,000 USD for legal bills incurred though the process. Originally, GoDaddy had sued ICANN over it allowing the Wait Listing Service to go forward; that case was thrown out by a U.S federal judge.[17]

History

  • GoDaddy Group was founded in 1997 under the name of Jomax® Technologies by Bob Parsons. In 1998 and 1999 they started to provide web development services.[18] During that time they changed their name from Jomax® to Go Daddy Software®, Inc. The CEO and Founder Bob Parsons commented in his blog that they were looking for a more remarkable name than Jomax® and came up with GoDaddy after someone suggested Big Daddy, which was already taken.[19]
  • GoDaddy Software became an ICANN-accredited registrar in 2000 and started to provide domain name registration services at 70% less than the industry leaders’ prices, despite the fact that in 2001 GoDaddy was approximately the same size as its major competitors. In 2005, it became the largest ICANN-accredited domain registrar in the world,[20] taking the title from Network Solutions.[21]
  • A DDoS attack was made on GoDaddy.com on January 16, 2009 which affected thousands of shared hosting customers for many hours.[25]
  • In early 2010, in response to a new government rule, GoDaddy stopped registering websites in China.[26]
  • In December 2011, it was announced that a private equity investment funding round from KKR, Silver Lake, and Technology Crossover Ventures would be finished by the end of the year. One of the main points for the funding was for overseas expansion, and thus needed approval from the Chinese government.[27]
  • Also in December 2011, GoDaddy announced that they would once again be featuring .co in their infamous Super Bowl advertisements. They first ran an ad for the 2011 Super Bowl, promising before-hand to unveil a brand new .Co girl, to be added to the likes of current GoDaddy girls, Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels. The new girl ended up being a bit of a prank, as it was Joan Rivers. At the time of announcing the 2012 ads, they had already passed NBC's censors. .co Internet noted that the first ads they were featured in, in 2011, immediately caused an unprecedented amount of traffic and registration.[28]
  • In January 2012, an anti-GoDaddy site, NoDaddy.co, was launched. This was significant given that a prior site, NoDaddy.com, opened in 2007 and was later acquired in July, 2011, by GoDaddy itself. It is unknown whether GoDaddy purchased the original NoDaddy.com site or threatened legal action. Prior to being acquired, NoDaddy.com was the second highest Google result for the search term "GoDaddy", and the site had received some 2 billion in investment. The new .co site is unaffiliated with the NoDaddy.com owners.[29]
  • The 2012 Super bowl featured 2 GoDaddy ads, and it was the eighth consecutive year that the registrar advertised during the event. GoDaddy announced that this year's ads helped create record Super Bowl Sunday sales.[30]
  • In 2012 and 2013, Afilias teamed up with GoDaddy to auction off .info domains that had been reserved under its Sunrise periods but whose trademarks later proved to be invalid. The first round of auctions produced highlights such as Cancer.info, sold for $16,005, and loans.info, sold for $12,205. Together both auctions include over 235 domain names.[31]
  • In January 2013 GoDaddy brought in new CEO Blake Irving to take over the reigns of the company. Having spent time at Yahoo! and Microsoft, Irving started to shift the companies focus. GoDaddy advertising focused on small businesses owners and the company began partnering with and buying other companies in the industry, such as (mt) Media Temple later in the year.[32][33]
  • Also in January 2013, GoDaddy announced that it had teamed up with OfficeMax to offer the first-ever retail store sales of domain names. Given that GoDaddy recieves many of its registrations from small and medium sized businesses, it was teaming up with the business supplier and retailer to offer bundles of domain names and other online business services, such as website development.[34]
  • In September of 2013, GoDaddy Group Inc. acquired Afternic from NameMedia, a domain resale and aftermarket domain purchasing service. The acquisition also included the SmartName platform, a domain parking service, but did not include the BuyDomains.com website that NameMedia also owns.[35]

Business

The Major concern of GoDaddy Group is GoDaddy.com.[36] The group also includes other concerns, such as:

  • Wild West Domains, Inc. - A concern of the company that deals with reselling domains and domain related products and services.
  • Domains By Proxy - This is a private domain registration sevice provider branch of the company.
  • Starfield Technologies - A branch that handles research and development affiliates.
  • Blue Razor Domains - This concern of the company acts as a membership-based discount registrar.

Products and Services

According to their official website, the products and services GoDaddy provides are:

  • Domain Name Registration- Providing comparatively cheaper domain name registration and transfer for both bulk and regular categories.
  • Web Hosting- Different kind of website, blog, word press, podcast, hosting on virtual, dedicated, cloud severs.
  • Email Service- Email plan for home and business users with additional add-ons.
  • Site Builders- Website design and development for different purposes and platforms
  • Business- Providing different business solutions, online marketing, online promotion, etc.
  • SSL & Security- Providing SSL certificates and code signing certificates along with other security services
  • Resellers - Reselling and affiliate plans

Awards

GoDaddy has been named “Best Registrar” by DomainNameWire.com, a domain name industry news source, for five consecutive years (2005-2010). For six consecutive years, GoDaddy has also ranked as one of the top employers in the Phoenix-metro area by The Phoenix Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work in the Valley” employee survey. GoDaddy was honored as the AZCentral.com's “Best Perks” Employer in 2009 and 2010. GoDaddy received several 2007 Arizona Corporate Excellence (ACE) Awards, including the prestigious distinction as the state's "Most Innovative Company". GoDaddy also ranked #2 on the ACE "25 Fastest-Growing" companies list and #20 on the ACE "Top 50" companies list. It was ranked #8 on the 2004 Inc. 500 list of the nation's fastest-growing privately held companies; #20 on the 2005 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 (growing 8,274 percent); and won the CNET Editor's Choice award in 2001, the Name Intelligence Largest Net Gain Award in 2002, 2003 and 2005; and the Name Intelligence Users' Choice Award in 2005.[37]

Events and Controversies

Refusal to Register Domain Names in China

In February, 2010, the Chinese Government imposed new rules for website operators. The new guidlines stipulated requirements such as the need to submit photographs and other information, and meet the service provider in person.[38]

Google protested this legislation by refusing to censor their search results on Google.cn on March 22, 2010.[39] On March 24, 2010 GoDaddy announced to Chinese lawmakers that it will cease registering websites in China in opposition to the new intrusive government rule. According to GoDaddy, this rule of increased monitoring and surveillance will put the individual or firms at risk. The company also said the rules will have a "chilling effect" on new domain name registrations.[40]

However, their effort has been criticized as a publicity stunt, given that GoDaddy so quickly followed Google's approach. The company responded in an announcement, saying their refusal to do business in China is not a PR act and that they are genuinely concerned about the situation facing the Chinese web industry.[41].

Potential Sale Issue

Duirng early September, 2010, rumours began to circulate that GoDaddy was up for sale.[42] The rumour was later confirmed by the Wall Street Journal when they published a report verifying exactly that. The report also mentioned the company could fetch more than $1 billion, and that the company had hired the financial firm Qatalyst Partners to find potential buyers.[43]

At first, a GoDaddy spokesman said that the company “does not comment on rumours”. But later, another report by the Wall Street Journal published in late October, 2010, noted that the company pulled itself off the market and was no longer for sale.[44]

SOPA

Unlike many major Internet companies,[45] GoDaddy came out in support of SOPA in late October, 2011. The reasons cited for their support were interests in protecting American businesses from being robbed and American consumers from being harmed by counterfeit products. The company stated that it was trying hard to help SOPA become an acceptable form of legislature for all those involved.[46] This move came as a surprise, as GoDaddy, just like any other domain name registrar, could potentially have a major liability under the bill, as the responsibility for cybersquatting could be shifted from the registrant to the registrar.[47]

By the end of December, significant media and Internet user attention was being paid to GoDaddy's SOPA support; users of the webforum Reddit.com began a protest against GoDaddy, urging those hosting their domain names with the company to transfer their domains to another service. The original poster suggested that December 29th be made "Move Your Domain Day," and in response many of GoDaddy's competitors began offering discounted rates to those wanting to transfer.[48] Reddit users began contacting larger corporations hosting with GoDaddy, such as the Wikimedia Foundation, urging them to transfer their domains from GoDaddy as well.[49] On December 23, GoDaddy released a press release stating that it no longer supported SOPA, stating that it will support it in the future when and if the Internet community supports it.[50] In the first week of protesting, GoDaddy lost approximately 72,300 domains due to their support of SOPA.[51] After two weeks, when more solid figures were available, it was noted via the pay-site RegistrarStats.com that GoDaddy had seen 100,000 domains transferred away from its system; however, in that same time frame 117,000 domains were transferred to GoDaddy; therefore, the boycott did not see the registrar take a net loss to its hosting numbers.[52]

Legal Case Against Petronas

GoDaddy faced a legal battle against Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), a government-owned oil company in Malaysia and owner of the Petronas twin towers. Petronas accused GoDaddy of First Amendment Complaint alleging that the company violated the Anti-Cybersquatting and Protection Act (ACPA) for cybersquatting, contributory to cybersquatting and unfair competition under the California Business & Professions Code § 17200 and California common law on Septemeber 9, 2010.[53]

Case Background

The case involved two disputed domain names, petronastowers.net and petronastower.net, which were registered with GoDaddy by a third party, named Heiko Schoenekess, who used the registrar's online“dashboard” to automatically redirect the Internet traffic for the disputed domain names to pornographic sites. Petronas learned that its trademark was violated by the registrant On November 26, 2009. The company asked GoDaddy to "cease its contributory infringement of the petronastower domain names." In response, GoDaddy argued that domain name ownership disputes should be sent to the registrant or to an arbitration forum such as the WIPO. The company also said it will not tolerate illegal content of customer's websites and it will cooperate with law enforcement agency for the websites to be taken down. Instead of resolving the case through arbitration procedures, Petronas filed a trademark claim with GoDaddy on December 16, 2009 using the company's "Trademark and/or Copyright Infringement Policy," which excludes domain name disputes. GoDaddy replied that it can only take action against websites related to trademark infringement if the hosting was provided by the company, however the disputed domain names were hosted by a different company. GoDaddy reiterated its position that the proper venue to resolve the problem was through a UDRP. Futhermore, under ICANN's policy and the UDRP, registrars are prohibited to get involved with domain ownership disputes.[54] Petronas insited GoDaddy take down the domain name and the website, but GoDaddy did not. The registrant of the disputed domain names was also unreachable when Petronas tried to contact him or her. On December 19, 2008, Petronas filed an in rem action against petronastower.net. On May 13, 2010, the court ordered the transfer of the domain name to Petronas. The same situation happened to the second domain name petronastowers.net, which was also transfered to the company on August 27, 2010.[55]

GoDaddy filed a motion to dismiss the case due to failure on the side of Petronas to state its claim. On May 5, 2011, the court denied the motion citing that some issues needed to be clarified including the terms forwarding and routing and if they were part of domain names registration services. Following, the court's ruling, GoDaddy filed a motion for summary judgement on the three allegations against the company. Go Daddy argued that it is not the registrant of the disputed domain names and based on ACPA, cybersquatting is the bad faith registration of domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to a distinctive mark. In addition, the company asserted that its only role was it provided the registrant with an automatic infrastructure service to route the disputed domain names to his chosen websites. Petronas has no evidence to prove that GoDaddy acted in bad faith with the intention to gain profit from the Petronas trademark. GoDaddy effectively defended its position. On Janury 12, 2012, the court granted its motion for summary judgment.[56]

GoDaddy Sued for Downtime

In September, 2012, a plaintiff sought a class action lawsuit against GoDaddy for its downtime on September, 10. GoDaddy makes a "99.99% uptime guarantee" for hosting, which would apparently equate to 43.2 minutes in a month. GoDaddy already has an established policy for downtime exceeding this .01% guarantee, “you may contact Go Daddy and request a credit of 5% of your monthly hosting fee from Go Daddy for that month. The credit may be used only for the purchase of further products and services from Go Daddy, and is exclusive of any applicable taxes.” The plaintiff alleges that he was not even given this word.[57]

References

  1. Yahoo! Finance
  2. InvestorPlace
  3. WebHostingReport.com
  4. Mashable
  5. Arizona Business & Money
  6. Survey Says GoDaddy is Top Domain Registrar, DomainNameWire.com
  7. Go Daddy applies for .home and .casa top level domains
  8. Go Daddy applying for three new gTLDs
  9. Application Details, gTLDresult.ICANN.org
  10. Twitter Status, SheridanCT, 6 Mar 2013, Twitter.com
  11. User Comments, Breaking GoDaddy to Drop Com From Logo, TheDomains.com Retrieved 6 Mar 2013
  12. GoDaddy Home Casa TLD, DomainNameWire.com Published & Retrieved 6 Mar 2013
  13. ICANN Moves Against GoDaddy Domain Lockdowns
  14. ICANN Announcement May, 2007
  15. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/19/registerfly_angry_customers/ Registerfly Angry Customers]
  16. GoDaddy Community Pages
  17. CNET News
  18. Robert L Small
  19. Bob Parsons' Blog
  20. web-hosting-top.com
  21. ICANN Strives to Stop GoDaddy Domain Abuse
  22. CircleID
  23. InternetNews
  24. GoDaddy Sues Verisign - CircleID.com
  25. ZDNet
  26. The Washington Post
  27. GoDaddy Investment should Close Before End of Year, DomainNameWire.com
  28. Super Bowl Sunday Here we COme, CoInternet.co/blog
  29. GoDaddy Gripe Site Relaunches with Co Domain, DomainIncite.com
  30. GoDaddy Super Bowl Ads, DomainNameWire.com
  31. Afilias and Go Daddy To Hold Second Info Auction, DomainNameWire.comPublished 8 Jan 2013, Retrieved 9 Jan 2013
  32. GoDaddy Appoints Blake Irving as CEO, GoDaddy.com Retrieved 31 Dec 2013
  33. A New Direction for GoDaddy, DomainNameWire.com Retrieved 31 Dec 2013
  34. GoDaddy Brick Mortar Teaming Up With Office Max, TheDomains.comPosted & Retrieved 17 Jan 2013
  35. GoDaddy Acquires Afernic from NameMedia, Domain Name Wire Retrieved 19 Sept 2013
  36. GoDaddy.com
  37. ICANNWiki.org
  38. CNet News
  39. Official Google Blog
  40. PCWorld.
  41. Wired.com
  42. BARRON'S
  43. TFTS
  44. AZCentral
  45. GoDaddy Faces boycott over SOPA support, http://arstechnica.com/
  46. Go Daddy’s Position on SOPA
  47. Red Hot on Reddit.com: “Move Your Domain Away From Godaddy Day” Based Off Of Support Of SOPA, thedomains.com
  48. GoDaddy supports SOPA, I'm transferring 51 domains & suggesting a move your domain day, reddit.com
  49. TIL Wikipedia.org is registered at SOPA supporter GoDaddy, reddit.com
  50. Go Daddy No Longer Supports SOPA, godaddy.com
  51. GoDaddy lost 21,054 domains yesterday due to their support of SOPA, thenextweb.com
  52. 2 Weeks of SOPA The Actual GoDaddy Numbers 100k Domains Transferred out 117k Transferred in, TheDomains.com
  53. [1]
  54. Berhad vs. GoDaddy
  55. Berhad vs. GoDaddy
  56. Berhad vs. GoDaddy
  57. Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Go Daddy Downtime, DomainNameWire.com

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