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GoDaddy Fights to Hold on to Customers as Rivals Scoop Them Up

GoDaddy CEO Warren Adelman got a Christmas card from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. It said simply, “welcome to my world.”

It all began when GoDaddy announced that they were supporting the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA. The act calls for a block on any domain that allows the posting of materials protected by copyright. Sounds reasonable, until you realize that Facebook could be blocked if someone posts a celebrity photo that is owned by one of the big licensers like Getty.

GoDaddy initially said they were behind SOPA and instantly, thousands began pulling their domains away from the company. Some went so far as to put up a boycott GoDaddy site and declare December 29, “Leave GoDaddy Day.”

On December 23, GoDaddy backpedaled some, saying they weren’t “for” SOPA (but they didn’t say they were against it) and the exodus continued. The estimate count for today? Over 70,000 domains have been pulled from the registrar.

Now, competitor NameCheap is accusing GoDaddy of intentionally blocking the transfer of domain names. Yeah, it’s getting ugly.

There have even been reports of GoDaddy reps calling domain holders, asking them to reconsider. Doesn’t sound like that tactic is working either.

So what now? Should GoDaddy continue to try and talk its way out of this mess? That didn’t work too well for Netflix. Should they just sit back and wait for it to blow over? Or is it time to bring out the big guns – aka MONEY. How many boycotters would happily rethink their priorities if GoDaddy offered them a big discount on their services?

The odd thing to me, is how many of these cases we’ve seen just this year. It seems like every brand is at the mercy of a single misstep and that’s scary. Companies are run by people, people make mistakes. Thanks to the internet, those mistakes are broadcast all over the world within seconds and an organized opposition can pop up within the hour.

Do these boycotts even help? Did Netflix customers get what they want? Did BestBuy customers get their TVs for Christmas? No.

So how do you suppose this boycott will turn out?

  • http://newbizshop.com Derek

    I’m staying with godaddy. In this day and age, one business can come up with a good plan to steal there competitors business with a single blog post. My site is super small so if i make 1 mistake, it would only cost me a little bit of money but i know that i could rebound later on in the future if i stick to my own game plan.

    Godaddy will bounce back and should be the better company and not talk smack on there competitor. Namecheap must be cheap if they can’t afford to sponsor a nascar and do t.v. commerical’s. They had to come up with something to steal clients and get a good payday. I know people will disagree with me and that’s fine, i don’t care what other people think. I’m not being a cry baby and moving my domain’s from Godaddy.

  • HalloweenBlogs

    Do boycotts help? Its early days yet, but GoDaddy wouldn’t have even pretended to back down on SOPA if it wasn’t having some effect. Netflix partially backed down as well in response to customer flight. Did customers get everything we wanted from these companies? Absolutely not.

    But looking at it this way doesn’t acknowledge the ultimate effect boycotts have. For one thing, I no longer support GoDaddy with my dollars. Its CEO can no longer use money I give him to go Big Game hunting in Africa and shoot elephants there. GoDaddy can no longer use the profits I give them to help write and lobby for SOPA. I no longer finance the sexist ads, the company founder who publicly supported the Bush administration’s torture policy, and I don’t finance the company that refused to oppose the Arizona papers please law (SB1070). That’s a win for ME, as far as I’m concerned. Likewise, Blockbuster offered those of us who are Dish Network customers a sweet deal, all the streaming movies we want and one DVD at a time for little more than I used to be paying Netflix, and I now have only one bill to pay instead of two.

    But the real win is how this affects other companies and what they intend to do in future. After Netflix, you think a lot of companies are going to be willing to raise their rates 60 percent, without contemplating that they might be risking a HUGE consumer backlash, motivate fence sitters to cancel or switch services, terminate monthly payments altogether, or worse, switch to the competition? You think companies that have the same demographics as domain registrars are going to quite so readily finance, promote and lobby for laws like SOPA without considering a customer boycott a distinct possibility? In the current economic environment, with consumers mad as hell and not wanting to take it any more, and with social media available for movements to gather steam quickly, companies have to tread very carefully from now on if they don’t want to face consumer wrath.

  • http://www.microsourcing.com/disciplines/web-development.asp MicroSourcing

    Go Daddy has always had public relations problems, some of which have been mentioned by the comment above. Its CEO has also been a controversial figure. Boycotts have short-term negative effects, and it becomes hard for companies to recover from customer flight.

  • http://skylinegraffix.com/services/seo-sem/ Skyline Graffix

    It’s astounding how ballsy companies are these days, completely ignoring their customer bases. Hopefully ‘Leave GoDaddy Day’ will have a lasting impact on them and other industry leaders: you aren’t in charge, your users are!

  • http://www.plattdaddy.com/ Steven Tchorzewski

    The Drupalers in LA took Dump GoDaddy Day pretty seriously:
    http://groups.drupal.org/node/199063

    Gandi.net seems to be their alternate registrar of choice, any other opinions on that?

  • http://www.stanleyoppenheimer.com searchengineman

    Its pretty simple..if your registrar is going to bend over and drop there pants the first sign of SOPA trouble. I don’t blame users for leaving. GoDaddy has made it clear that they will not step in if issues emmerge regarding SOPA. I certainly would not want to keep my valuable domains in an unstable environment like this.

    If GoDaddy was smart they better clearly state where they are going to stand in SOPA issues if it passes, in terms of protecting its users.

    Searchengineman