GoDaddy is known as a reputable domain registrar. currently, GoDaddy has over 18 million clients with 77 million registered domain names, who use a wide variety of web hosting plans and services.
But who owns GoDaddy? How did it grow to become such a successful company? What about all the GoDaddy controversies over the years?
In this article, I’ll share my knowledge and experience in the industry to unveil the fascinating and rich history of the company we all know today as GoDaddy.
Table Of Contents
- Who Founded GoDaddy
- How Did GoDaddy Become Successful?
- Where Are The GoDaddy Headquarters?
- GoDaddy Current Owner
- What Is GoDaddy Used For?
- GoDaddy Awards
- GoDaddy Controversies
- Is GoDaddy Worth It?
Who Founded GoDaddy
The GoDaddy domain name was registered in 1997 by Robert Ralph Parsons also known as Bob Parsons.
At the time, GoDaddy was operating under the name Jomax Technologies. In 2006, GoDaddy replaced Jomax Technologies and became its own company, GoDaddy Group Inc.
GoDaddy originally started as a domain registrar, a marketplace for buying domain names. Over time, more services were added to the company.
Today, GoDaddy offers a wide variety of web hoating services, such as web hosting plans, website security, dedicated servers, virtual private servers, and much more.
GoDaddy has everything you need to host any kind of website; from online stores, corporate websites, and small-time WordPress blogs.
How Did GoDaddy Get Its Name?
GoDaddy got its name from Big Daddy but the domain for Big Daddy was not available at the time so the company settled for GoDaddy.
The name does not contain any meaning and was chosen because it was fun and unique. GoDaddy is trying to shorten its name further to simply The Go.
Who Is Bob Parsons?
Bob Parsons is best known as the founder of GoDaddy but he has been involved with many other ventures.
In 1984 Bob Parsons started his career selling a personal home account program called MoneyCounts.
He registered the business under the name of Parsons Technology and continued to expand until it had 1,000 employees.
Later on, in 1994, Parsons sold Parsons Technology was sold to Intuit, Inc for $64 million.
From there he began working on another company, Jomax Technologies, which would eventually become the GoDaddy we know today.
In 2012, Parson founded YAM Worldwide Inc which parent company for multiple subsidiaries across a wide variety of industries, such as real estate, marketing, golf, motorcycles, food, furniture, and much more.
Every new venture related to Parsons is listed under Yam Worldwide Inc.
He also runs a charity foundation called Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation which is dedicated to providing critical funding to communities that are in need. The charity is known for giving grants to nonprofit partners.
For example, in 2022, the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation gave a $1.5 million grant to Hawaii Island Human Society.
In 2020, Parsons was listed in the Forbes list of Richest People in America as number 378.
Why Did Bob Parsons Leave GoDaddy?
Bob Parsons left GoDaddy to focus his efforts on building YAM Worldwide Inc and its subsidiaries. In 2018 he officially resigned from the GoDaddy board of directors, he is no longer the owner or CEO of GoDaddy.
The companies I created outside of GoDaddy now demand my full-time attention, so it’s time for me now to resign my seat on the GoDaddy Board and focus solely on Yam Worldwide
– Bob Parsons.
In 2011, he sold 70% of his GoDaddy shares but remained the company’s CEO until his retirement in 2018.
How Did GoDaddy Become Successful?
The Beginnings Of The Internet
Many different factors contribute to the success of GoDaddy.
It was created at a time when the internet was new, there wasn’t much competition, and the internet was about to experience explosive growth.
Easy Done For You Website Services
Originally GoDaddy started as a domain registrar, but web hosting services were added and heavily marketed.
GoDaddy was also one of the only companies at that time that offered a done-for-you website building package, a service they continue to provide.
These services were offered to regular people and businesses, offering them a chance to start a website without coding or technical knowledge. The problem was getting the word out.
At first, GoDaddy didn’t see much success.
Parsons was close to shutting down the company and moving on.
He started the company with $36 million in the bank, with the plan to only spend $4 million on GoDaddy.
Most startups do not have much capital to start with, so GoDaddy was already a little ahead of the rest with a decent budget to work with.
While the budget requirements increased, the company was still not turning a profit.
Eventually, Parsons decided that he will go down with the company, spending every last dollar he owns on it until it saw some success.
The entire $36 million (and more) was spent to get the word out, most of which was spent on commercials.
Super Bowl Commercials
The company heavily relied on commercials, the most notable being a suggestive Super Bowl ad that aired in 2005, which many considered to be sexist.
However, the commercial was a success, immediately going viral, moving GoDaddy’s market share up from 16% to 25% in a week.
Most of the commercials targeted small businesses, promising an easy way to get a website up and start marketing online.
GoDaddy has aired several similar “sexy” commercials at the Super Bowl over the years.
One of the commercials was banned from NBC for being too suggestive.
Most of the commercials were a marketing success, although some were rather controversial, which I’ll mention later in the list of GoDaddy controversies.
Even today, commercials for GoDaddy are hard to miss.
You have probably seen their commercials on cable TV, streaming services, YouTube, and other channels.
The most popular actress for GoDaddy commercials is Danica Patrick, a professional driver, who appeared in 14 of GoDaddy’s Super Bowl ads.
It wasn’t until 2001 that things started to kick off. GoDaddy managed to break even for the first time. Since then, it earned a profit every month and continues to do so.
Today, the company has over 9,000 employees and is worth about $13 billion. Currently, it’s ranked #712 on Fortune’s 500 lists.
Affordable Web Hosting Plans
One of GoDaddy’s most popular hosting packages is a $1 a month shared hosting service which includes free domain names.
The plan gives you pretty much everything you need to get a simple web hosting online.
When companies were spending thousands of dollars to have a website coded from scratch, GoDaddy’s web hosting and building services stood out.
Today, the $1 a month plan is still offered but it renews at $8.99 after the first month.
Nevertheless, the affordable services were one of the reasons the company saw explosive growth, even at a time when people were unsure about the future of the internet.
Note: Other hosting companies offer better deals with faster performance.
Another key component of GoDaddy’s success is the company’s affiliate program, also called a reseller program.
It lets people earn commissions by promoting GoDaddy’s services.
Many YouTubers are partnered with GoDaddy due to their affiliate program, it’s one of the most popular affiliate programs to date.
The company makes it very easy for new marketers to start promoting their services by providing over 100 different banners and links to use.
Anyone can join GoDaddy’s affiliate program for a chance to earn some income.
Today it’s normal for a web hosting company to offer live chat or phone support, but GoDaddy was one of the first to offer fast and efficient customer service.
Having reliable tech support is very important for website owners.
Those are some of the main reasons why GoDaddy became so successful.
In my opinion, high-budget marketing with Super Bowl commercials was the main factor in the success of the company.
Where Are The GoDaddy Headquarters?
GoDaddy’s headquarters are in Tempe, Arizona, The United States. However, it has many offices in several countries.
Other office locations:
- Kirkland, Washington
- Beeston, UK
- Belgrade, Serbia
- Tempe, Arizona
- Cologne, Germany
GoDaddy Current Owner
It’s tricky to answer who owns GoDaddy. Yet who owns GoDaddy isn’t a single entity but rather a board of directors that makes decisions.
Currently three private equity firms own GoDaddy. These are; KKR & Co, Silver Lake Partners, and Technology Crossover Ventures.
Bob Parsons stepped down from the board of directors and sold the company to the above firms in 2011. He is no longer the owner of GoDaddy.
Who Is The Current CEO Of GoDaddy?
The current CEO of GoDaddy is Aman Bhutani who took over the role in 2019.
Is GoDaddy Privately Owned?
No. GoDaddy is not privately owned. 0GoDaddy is a publicly traded company and its IPO was in 2015.
GoDaddy Stock Exchange
The GoDaddy stock has been relatively stable over the years.
Today, the Wall Street Journal lists the stock purchase price at around $80 – 70 per share.
What Is GoDaddy Used For?
GoDaddy started as a domain registrar but quickly added more services and now offers complete web hosting packages, including hosting, domain, website builders, tools, and more. Let’s take a look at some of their key services.
A domain registrar is a platform where people can buy and register a domain name. A domain name is the text link to your website, for example, diggitymarketing.com. It’s also called a DNS.
GoDaddy is one of the world’s largest domain registrars and anyone can buy a domain from them, as long as it’s available.
There are a few domain-related features that they offer too, such as domain auctions (buy and sell domains), WHOIS privacy, domain search, and transfer domains.
One interesting feature about GoDaddy’s domains is the first year is sold for $0.01 but only when you buy two years. After the first year, you will be charged $19.99. Looking for the cheapest place to buy domain names?
Web Hosting Plans
GoDaddy has hosting services for all kinds of purposes, from small blogs to large corporate websites.
The most popular hosting plans are shared hosting because they’re cheaper and offer enough resources for medium-sized websites.
Shared hosting is good for most websites, but you share resources with other users, which can affect your website performance.
The most budget-friendly plan is called Starter. If you register for 3 years, it costs $3.99 a month and it allows you to host one domain name.
For unlimited websites, you need to buy either the Deluxe or Ultimate web hosting company plans which start at $7.99 and $12.99 respectively.
You get the best savings for ordering long-term plans, but you can choose short-term too, for instance, 1 month, 3 months, or 6 months. Generally, it’s better to buy at least a year of web hosting at a time.
Shared hosting is good enough for most WordPress websites. On that note, are you looking for the best WordPress hosting options?
Besides shared hosting, GoDaddy also offers virtual private servers (VPS) and dedicated servers. These options are generally faster and offer consistent speed because they are not affected by other websites on the same server.
A VPS assigns a specific amount of resources to your website which is not shared with anyone else, for example, CPU cores, RAM, storage, etc.
Another product GoDaddy offers is a free website builder.
If you don’t want to use WordPress, you can use the website builder to throw up a basic website in minutes.
With the builder, you can choose a template, and then all you have to do is fill it in with your website’s content and information.
The builder includes some unique tools such as an appointment tracker, accepting online payments, security, and others.
The paid version offers even more features.
You can play around with the website builder for free.
Generally, WordPress should be your go-to website builder because it’s fast, free, and highly customizable.
Most website builders offer good-looking templates but the website performance is not good.
Today, having a website that loads within a couple of seconds is very important.
Many people access the internet with phones on cellular data and don’t have time to wait for websites to load.
Over the years, GoDaddy has won many awards from various award platforms such as Forbes, Comparably, Indigo, Stevie Awards, Purpose Awards, and others.
In 2022, Comparably awarded them with Best Company for Career Growth, Best CEO Diversity, Best CEOs for Women, Best Teams Marketing, Best Team Engineering, and Best Company Phoenix.
The company also scores 100% on LGBTQ Equality on the corporate equality index. Even Microsoft gave them the best MSUS Partner of the year in 2021.
For a full list of their awards, take a look at the awards and honors page. In 2022 GoDaddy released a press release that they earned a perfect score on Humans Right Campaign’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index.
GoDaddy has landed in hot water several times since its launch, mostly related to its commercials, although some business practices were under scrutiny too.
In one commercial, a puppy falls out of a truck, eventually finding its way home, only to have its owner say that she sold the puppy on a website she built with GoDaddy.
Animal rights activists claimed the commercial promoted puppy mills.
Many people voiced their complaints, and a petition on Change.
org to have the commercial removed was started and it received 42,000 signatures within 24 hours.
Eventually, the commercial was pulled and the CEO wrote an apology.
Hunting Elephants In Zimbabwe
In 2011, Bob Parson uploaded a video of him shooting an elephant and posing with its body.
Understandably, the video created a wave of outrage, with organizations like PETA criticizing the hunt.
PETA encouraged everyone to cut ties with the company due to the elephant hunt.
Parsons explained that in Zimbabwe elephants are considered pests and he was doing the locals a favor by hunting the elephant and also providing them with the meat.
Nevertheless, hunting elephants for sport is not a good look for anyone.
Fake Employee Bonus
During the peak of the pandemic, GoDaddy employees received an official email claiming they are celebrating record growth by awarding $650 to each employee.
Unfortunately, when the employees clicked the link, it was a phishing test, and the employees were then required to take further training courses.
No bonus was given, although the company did later apologize to the employees.
The stunt was seen as unnecessary and cruel especially when people were struggling financially due to the pandemic.
Is GoDaddy Worth It?
GoDaddy is an interesting company that has grown from humble beginnings to a large web hosting company in the world.
In my opinion, GoDaddy’s services are good but there are other companies that offer better services for around a similar purchase price.
While their services are not bad by any means, the performance is just slightly below the services some other companies have to offer.
For example, if you are looking for a reliable place to buy domain names you can check out Namecheap.
If you are looking for a good web hosting company you can read our article The Best SEO Web Hosting Service: Top Companies in 2024.