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GoDaddy

GoDaddy is a privately owned, Internet-based company that provides a variety of services including domain name registration, web hosting and e-business software sales. The company, which is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, was founded by Bob Parsons. Parsons previously owned a financial services software company, which he sold in the mid-1990s upon retirement. He came out of retirement in 1997 to form Jomax Technologies, the predecessor to GoDaddy.

Since it’s inception, GoDaddy has risen to become the largest domain registrar in the world, with tens of million of domains registered to its clients. The company ranks as the world’s largest ICANN-accredited registrar; it’s approximately four times larger than its nearest competition. Recent corporate acquisitions include Outright, Locu, Afternic, and Media Temple.

GoDaddy has redefined Internet hosting services, and it has been the recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades. Among these awards are the 2001 Arizona BBB award for Business Ethics and the 2011 SC Magazine award for Best Security Team. In 2011, it ranked number four in the Phoenix Business Magazine list of “Best Places to Work in the Valley” and it made the 2012 Forbes list of “Best 100 Companies to Work For.”

Known for its sometimes controversial commercials and interesting spokespersons, GoDaddy also sponsors a number of charitable causes in support of domestic violence and child abuse awareness, and sports events, including NASCAR and the Super Bowl. In 2013, the company shifted its advertising strategy to focus more on small to medium sized business owners (SMB). Reflecting this change, its commercials and advertising materials shifted from “sexy” to smart.

What We Lose Without Whois Records

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I think GDPR has made domain investing more challenging for the past few years. Despite the fact that GDPR regulations cover Europeans and European companies, some registrars have opted to block public WHOIS data across the board, while allowing registrants to opt out if they wish. Domain registrants in the US have been largely spared by this, but that is going to change in a couple of months.

As I shared on Friday evening, GoDaddy is planning to remove public Whois records in June. I am disappointed with this because Whois records offer valuable information about domain name registrants which can be used to inquire about domain name purchases, perform due diligence on a prospective purchase, and to do general research about domain registrants.

GoDaddy to Remove Public Whois Information

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Yesterday morning, I was forwarded an ominous sounding email sent by GoDaddy to an industry colleague. The subject of the email was somewhat innocuous, “On May 18, 2020 we are retiring Privacy for Backorders.” The opening paragraph with details about the changes were concerning to me:

“We’re working on rolling out changes to better ensure your personal data is hidden in the public WHOIS database, for free. As part of that effort, we’re ending support for our Private Domain Backorder add-on product. We expect these changes to be live in early June.”

This sounded like GoDaddy was planning to make significant changes to how the company displays Whois records for domain names registered there, and that would have major implications for domain investors and GoDaddy customers.

I reached out to a representative from GoDaddy to ask about the email in order to get some clarity on what changes are being made to public Whois records. Paul Bindel, VP of Operations at GoDaddy Registrar, shared the following statement with me:

DomainNames.com Acquired by GoDaddy

At the NamesCon live domain name auction in February of 2019, Frank Schilling acquired DomainNames.com for $370,000. The domain name was sold in the auction by Network Solutions, and it has been forwarding to Uniregistry’s website since the purchase was completed.

As you know, GoDaddy acquired Uniregistry and Name Administration from Frank Schilling. After speaking with a company spokesperson, I was able to confirm that GoDaddy has acquired DomainNames.com as a part of the Uniregistry acquisition.

Video: GoDaddy CEO on Yahoo Finance

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GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani made a live appearance this morning on Yahoo Finance to discuss how small businesses are impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and what that means for GoDaddy’s operations. Aman did not mention domain names in this morning’s discussion, but he did discuss how “micro businesses” with 500 or fewer employees are coping with the pandemic and associated economic fall-out.

In its Investor Day presentation on April 2nd, GoDaddy commented about the impact and potential impact COVID-19 will have on the secondary aftermarket where many domain investors sell their domain names (along with GoDaddy’s NameFind portfolio company). The company cautioned that “higher price point offerings / more likely to see greater demand impact in a recession.”

Uniregistry: No Major Changes After GoDaddy Deal

GoDaddy acquired Uniregistry, but for Uniregistry customers who like the company’s user interface, platform, and tools, there will not be an visible changes to the user experience. Nobody has to transfer domain names to GoDaddy, nor do customers need to list domain names for sale on Afternic/GoDaddy or use GoDaddy’s platform. The only reported changes that are coming are contractual changes that Uniregistry emailed customers about a week ago.

GoDaddy’s Paul Nicks addressed this in a tweet last week:

GoDaddy Job: Director of Product Marketing, Domains & Naming

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I want to share a job opportunity that might be of interest to someone with experience within the domain industry. GoDaddy is looking to fill the role of Director of Product Marketing, Domains & Naming. The job will be based out of the company’s Sunnyvale, California office, although I presume the person will be able to work from for the time being. I saw the job opening listed on LinkedIn.

Here’s a brief description of the job:

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