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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.

Guest Post: The “Independent Web”: The only place where YOU control your online presence

Godaddy Super Bowl CommercialThis is a guest post from GoDaddy.com. The company has generously supported the Ronald McDonald House. I am hoping to raise $10,000 for RMH in 2012, and I invite you to contribute to help. It’s a great organization!

In 1991, when the Web went public, it was remarkable because it was the first time in the history of the Earth that you could create a presence anyone else in the world could find, see and interact with instantly.   Best of all, you had 100 percent control over the content of the site and therefore over the experience of each visitor, as well as the data from it. Now, two decades later, a massive sea change has seen the addition of pages on Facebook ®, Twitter ®, Google+ ® and other similar sites. The problem is, unlike traditional websites, some of the content and all of the data created by interactions on those sites are not yours to use and to control . . . it is theirs.

To be clear, a presence, for instance, on  Facebook can be a good thing; it is the “water cooler” where 900 million people  gather (that’s more than 12 percent of the planet’s population). Even Go Daddy, a company founded on the concept that every individual can have and control his or her own  Web presence, has a Facebook page. What is important to realize is the difference between building your presence on what has been dubbed the Dependent Web  versus the Independent Web: both have value, but you only fully control one.

Apparently it was John Battelle, co-founder of Wired Magazine  and news website The Industry Standard, who coined the terms in his 21 October 2010 blog entry on BattelleMedia.com. He explained that in the Dependent Web, host companies deliver content, advertising and services based on what or who it thinks the visitor is. Therefore, the content presented is actually dependent  upon past and present actions such as webpages visited and mouse-clicks. In contrast, in the Independent Web (with some exceptions) host companies do not change content according to their perception of visitors’ wants/needs.

Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, compared the two in a recent GigaOM blog  by making the analogy that now “. . . more people want to own their own space on the Web – they want to own a house instead of rent an apartment.” In a posting early this year Battelle added, “Companies that have planted their presence too deeply into the soils of Facebook are going to realize they need to control their own destiny and move their focus and their core presence back into the independent waters of the open Internet.”

To demonstrate the difference, (and while preparing this blog post) a visit to GoDaddy.com  presented all the products and services the company offers, as well as links to various company news, facts and commercials. In contrast, on the Facebook.com/GoDaddy  page mentions of the same products and services were presented (albeit in different format). In place of the supplemental information,   “another chance at love,” taking away from the overall company message. In addition there was a column listing text posts from Facebook friends around the country. Is this good or bad? Well, neither; they are simply different experiences companies can offer by building Dependent Web-based pages or not. So, at the surface, this is fine; below that, maybe not.

Battelle went further saying “I’m a fan of integrating Facebook into your brand efforts . . . but the point is simple: If you are a brand, publisher or independent voice, don’t put your taproot  into the soils of Facebook. Plant it in the Independent Web.” Therefore, if your promotions and the results of SEO drive visitors to www.Facebook.com/YourCompany; that would mean that ALL of the data is Facebook’s to exploit. Instead, if you drive people to www.YourCompany.com/Facebook, you at least “own”  the data that led them to your Facebook account.

So consider that, when registering an Internet domain name  and signing up for a hosting account, you end up with a blank canvas on a wall anyone in the world can see. What you put on that canvas is entirely up to you and what data you gain is yours. That’s the real value of the Independent Web and why Go Daddy has supported it from the start. Oh, and be sure to remember that if you build a website  – but choose to use a free hosting service or  free email address  – you are giving the host company free reign to place their ads on your site and subsequently harvest your data from it.   And remember, obtaining a good domain and driving lots of the world’s population to your site on the Independent Web means you have created a real value in the virtual world.

So what does this  mean to you? If at some point you find you no longer need it, check out how Elliot Silver and his blog (ElliotsBlog.com) followers have turned domain names into re-sellable properties worth from hundreds to millions of dollars; just try to do that with a Facebook page!

* Third-party trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

Go Daddy’s “Review 60” Policy is Annoying

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I bought a domain name (BrandManagement.com) from someone who has it registered at Go Daddy, and when Escrow.com confirmed my wire, he pushed it to my Go Daddy account. I didn’t want to transfer it away from Go Daddy because an ICANN lock would have been added to the name, which is a problem if I decide to transfer it elsewhere.

I emailed my representative at Go Daddy to ask to have the 60 day Go Daddy lock removed and was instructed to send an email to the people in the “Review 60” department. Andrew Allemann discussed this new review process before. This is what they asked me to provide for them to remove a lock on a domain name my company bought and now owns.

Thank you for your email. To remove the transfer lock on the domain names, you would need to provide us with the following:

1. A completed 60-Day Lock Removal Request Form (attached).

2. Photo identification. Acceptable photo identification is clear, readable, and issued by the government. We must be able to clearly identify the pictured person, name, signature, and expiration date.

3. Government-issued business identification for the current registrant, Top Notch Domains, LLC. The following are considered acceptable business identification (if not based in the United States, please provide a Certified English translation of your country’s equivalent documentation):

Ø A copy of business license
Ø Tax certificate (number alone is not acceptable)
Ø Doing Business As documentation
Ø Fictitious Name documentation
Ø IRS 501(C)3 “Determination Letter” (You may request a copy of this letter by contacting the IRS at 1-800-829-4933)
Ø State issued certificate of tax exemption showing charitable status

You may scan or take a digital photo of the information and email it to review60@godaddy.com.

I’m sorry, but this is annoying. First off, I’ve been a customer for nearly ten years without any security issues, so that should count for something. Secondly, the seller also has an executive account at Go Daddy, so they can easily email and/or call him to confirm the sale. Thirdly, they can likely check the IP address from when the seller pushed it to my account to compare to prior account logins (ie if the IP address of the push from the California based seller originated in Iran, it would be a red flag).

Finally, it seems pretty silly for Go Daddy to police transfers like this. If the name was stolen or if the account had been compromised somehow and I still provided the requested information, I would imagine the owner could hold Go Daddy liable for approving the transfer after reviewing all of the information. If it was not the policy to police transfers like this, much like it is not their policy to police trademark domain registrations, they wouldn’t be responsible for fraudulent transfers like they aren’t responsible for clients registering Microsofts.org.

I am a happy Go Daddy client, but this issue is very annoying to me and I am sure it’s annoying to others, too. I can’t think of another registrar that does this, so I would assume it’s a domain retention issue in addition to a security measure, and that makes it even more frustrating.

My Flawless Switch to Go Daddy Hosting

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For the last several years, my blog has been hosted by Liquid Web. They have 24/7 customer support, and whenever I had an issue, they were quick to resolve it. For that, I paid between $60 – $100 a month for my hosting plan (a VPS).

Last month, I read about Andrew Allemann’s switch to Go Daddy hosting. His concerns were similar to mine, and I knew if he was comfortable making an important change like hosting, I should have the same comfort level. Andrew and I met for breakfast a couple of weeks ago, and he told me that his switchover went smoothly and he felt he made the right decision. I was sold.

I reached out to Go Daddy to inquire about hosting, and I learned the company has a support team for websites/businesses that get a significant amount of traffic like mine. I was put in touch with Flavio Andrade, Product Line Director for Go Daddy’s Hosting division, and he walked me through Go Daddy’s offerings. He connected me with Todd Cluff, one of Go Daddy’s Corporate Account Executives. I decided to move to Go Daddy’s 4GH web hosting platform, which seems to be perfect for WordPress websites like mine.

After doing prep work for the move, testing my current website for errors and potential issues, and setting up my account, Todd connected me with Daniel Feuster, who works on the Advanced Hosting Support support team. Daniel had me upload my Vaultpress back-up to the FTP, and he helped set up my website. After checking on the operations of the site on the new server, Daniel instructed me to change my DNS, and my site was officially hosted by Go Daddy.

The good news is that I am now paying just $9.00 a month for hosting. The better news is that the hosting company switch was flawless. I am going to see how things go for the next couple of weeks, and assuming there aren’t any issues, I plan to move additional sites soon.

There are no affiliate links in this post, and I was not compensated in any way to write this article. I am paying the rack rate found on Godaddy’s hosting page.

Go Daddy Back On Top – Did Google+ Have Something To Do With It?

When it comes to organic results on Google searches for the keyword terms “domain name” and “domain names,” it’s been a battle between NameCheap and Go Daddy  (at least in terms of commercial websites). I am sure the higher ranking means a noticeable difference in business, so these terms are ultra competitive.

A few weeks ago, NameCheap outranked Go Daddy  for the “domain name” search, but it now appears that Go Daddy is ranking higher, although both companies trail the Wikipedia definition page.  I am wondering if Google Plus +1 has anything to do with the rankings.

Here are a couple of observations I made:

When NameCheap was ranked higher for the “domain name” SERP, the number of +1 the company had on Google Plus was shown below its listing. At the time of my article, NameCheap had 1,019 Google +1, and  the company now has 1,367 +1  .

I initially wrote about the NameCheap vs. Go Daddy ranking battle on April 20th. I did not see how many Google +1 that Go Daddy had at that time, but the company currently shows 1,522 +1 below its listing on the search results page.

According to GoDaddy’s Google Plus page on March 9, the company announced, “we’re setting up shop here on Google+.” From March 9 – April 20, GoDaddy had just nine posts on its Google+ wall. From April 21 – today (approximately the same time period), Go Daddy has posted 22 times on its Google+ wall, and that has increased its Google+ activity.

While I wouldn’t label this statistically significant information, it seems possible that Go Daddy’s Google Plus activity led to more +1, and  perhaps this helped lift them over their competitor.

NameCheap Overtakes Go Daddy

According to the Google Adword Keyword Tool, tens of thousands of people search for the term “domain name” each month (just under 100,000 searches). Go Daddy is the largest domain registrar, with tens of millions of domain names under management, and NameCheap is on its way to 3 million domain names under its control (check out the company’s 3 millionth domain registration contest).

I am not sure when this happened, but NameCheap has overtaken Go Daddy in Google for the key search term, domain name. Both companies still trail the Wikipedia page for that term, but it’s certainly a major boost for NameCheap to be listed ahead of Go Daddy. A search of the plural “domain names” shows that GoDaddy is still outranking NameCheap, with both companies trailing Wikipedia.

Over the last couple of years, NameCheap has aggressively courted Go Daddy customers and domain buyers with its tongue in cheek advertising and marketing campaigns. At the end of 2011 when Go Daddy flip flopped on its SOPA stance, NameCheap made a big push with people opposed to SOPA, and the company saw a surge in transfers.

NameCheap is a much smaller entity than GoDaddy, so it’s pretty remarkable to see them outranking Go Daddy for this key search term. As a result, Go Daddy and other companies are spending a lot of money on paid search, while NameCheap doesn’t seem to have the need (at least for this key term).

In case you are wondering, I used a non-work related computer to do the search since Google sometimes skews results based on search preferences and prior searches.

Go Daddy Rectifies Invalid Whois Issue on Moniker Transfers

After transferring several domain names from Moniker to Go Daddy recently, I noticed that the Whois lookup looked funky on these names, and after further investigation, I found that Godaddy was reporting a contacts error  inside my control panel. It probably wouldn’t have caused any problems for the domain names, but it’s not good to have incorrect Whois information.

A couple of days ago, I received a notice from Go Daddy’s Nick Fuller informing me that the issue has been resolved. When I posted the article, the company was in the process of getting its parsing updated on transferred Moniker domain names, and that process has been completed.

The company may still be working on the parsing script for transfers from other registrars (like Network Solutions), but it is something that is being fixed as we speak. If you find this error on transfers that are completed from now on, please post a comment here to let the company know. It will be helpful to know the losing registrar and transfer date.

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