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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.

Godaddy: Tell Us How to Improve Signature Auctions

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Godaddy Logo Godaddy is asking its customers to provide feedback on how the company can improve its Signature Auctions, after the first round saw pretty poor results. This request is one of the smartest moves I’ve seen from one of the big domain companies. Most companies would probably have tried to put a positive spin on the results, which may have made them look foolish. Because of their humble appeal, I will give some advice that I believe could improve their next Signature Auction.

1.) Better Names at Reasonable Reserves

Godaddy should do what it takes to ensure there are good quality domain names on auction with low/reasonable reserve prices. They should seek out domain owners and cut deals with them to guarantee certain prices will be achieved (lower commissions, sales price guarantees, bid on behalf of Godaddy’s internal portfolio…etc). The better the quality names at reasonable reserves, the more likely it is for buyers to show up and bid. Conversely, the more wealthy buyers that are present, the more likely it is for domain sellers to list their names at reasonable reserve prices.

Sellers are reluctant to put their names on auction at a lower reserve because if there aren’t enough buyers, they’ve created an artificial price ceiling for their domain names. Hypothetically, a $500,000 name with a reserve price of just $100,000 might not sell if an interested buyer doesn’t show up. If that’s the case, the domain owner has created a price ceiling that isn’t realistic because it probably would have sold for $500,000 in a different venue.

2.) More Publicity

In the days leading up to the auction, there didn’t seem to be any publicity for the auction. It was almost like Godaddy wanted to have a soft opening, but when they chose that route, bidders didn’t show up (or if they did, they didn’t bid). Godaddy needs to publicize their next auction as much as possible. I suggest the following:

  • Purchase impressions in all the domain forums and domain blogs
  • Buy related Adwords
  • Email entire database of current customers
  • Ask Bob to blog about the auction to generate buzz
  • Issue press releases touting the high profile domain names
  • Give coupon credits to VIP customers

3.) VIP Invitations

There are quite a few people who are known for bidding aggressively at other live domain auctions. Senior Godaddy executives should go through their rolodexes and do what they need to make sure these bidders show up. Godaddy might even want to ask them what types of names they are looking to purchase, and they should make sure at least some of these types of names are on auction.

4.) Manage the Escrow Process

Instead of handing off the sale to Escrow.com to complete an auction (or any of TDNAM’s sales for that matter), Godaddy should handle the transaction on their own. This is an important part of the process, and it will ensure that payment is made quickly, and the domain name is transferred promptly and correctly. Why should they leave anything to chance?   All other major auction houses offer in-house escrow services, and I don’t see why Godaddy still doesn’t.

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The better the auction results are, the more likely it will be that people will want their names listed in future auctions. The better the names in auction, the more likely it will be that buyers show up and bid. The second round will be much more successful than the inaugural attempt because Godaddy was smart enough to ask for advice from the domain community.

Godaddy’s WIPO Filing – A Commendable Action

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When I write about a WIPO decision, more often than not, I prefer to discuss generic domain names, and I usually take the side of the registrant/respondent. In the case of the recent WIPO decision for the domain name GodaddysGirls.com, I would like to commend the complainant, Godaddy.

In my opinion, the domain name GodaddysGirls.com is infringing upon Godaddy’s trademark, “Godaddy.” I have no legal background, so this is just my opinion. Also, knowing about Godaddy CEO Bob Parsons, I wouldn’t have been shocked if he created a special website in honor of Godaddy’s Girls. (See video clip below for more on that.)

Aside from the fact that the registrant was using the term “Godaddy” in the domain name, according to the WIPO filing, the registrant would “redirect Internet users to sponsored links to a number of pornographic websites.” Clearly this isn’t something Godaddy would condone, so of course, they wanted to stop it.

In the decision released today, I want to highlight a few noteworthy things Godaddy did prior to the filing. First, Godaddy didn’t immediately file a WIPO dispute or a lawsuit under the Lanham Act once they became aware of the usage of this domain name. Godaddy “contacted Respondent with a cease and desist and transfer demand,” which the respondent rejected. I think this was a reasonable request, and it could have saved all parties time and money if it was accepted.

The rejection could have pissed Godaddy off enough to immediately file a dispute, but instead, they “indicated that it was willing to purchase the domain name from Respondent at a “reasonable price.” I don’t know of many companies who would be willing to pay for a domain name it believes is being used in bad faith after having a cease and desist letter flatly rejected, so I was impressed with this overture.

It was only after these two attempts to amicably resolve this were rejected that Godaddy proceeded with filing a WIPO dispute. In the decision released today, the domain name was ordered to be transferred to Godaddy.

Detractors may say that Godaddy took those actions to save money. While that may have been the case, I believe they first took reasonable steps to get this domain name back, and only used the WIPO dispute process as a last resort.

I am just an outsider looking in on this, but in this day and age of companies filing legal actions first and asking questions after, I believe Godaddy did the honorable thing and should be commended.

Godaddy Signature Auction Results

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It doesn’t look so great for Godaddy’s first Signature Auction. According the the listing, only 2 of the 31 listed names sold. As I said in a post a couple of weeks ago, there really weren’t very many names on the list that were that appealing, and the few that were good, had high reserves.

As I said a few days ago, I didn’t see much hype surrounding the auction, although it did receive a fair amount of press. It looks like Godaddy should huddle up, figure out where things went wrong, and make adjustments for the next time. With the addition of domain industry veteran Adam Dicker, Godaddy is still in a good position.

Godaddy has a strong brand and large following, and once they get the right mix of premium names, fair reserves with their good technology, they could have a competitive product.

Godaddy Live Auction Preview

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Godaddy Signature Auctions released the list for their auction taking place between November 6-8. There are a few very good names on the list (Bob.com, Grapes.com, Media.mobi, and ForeignTravel.com are my favorites), but I was surprised by the lack of showcase names that other live auction events featured. Although the majority of them didn’t sell (WallStreet.com, Hell.com, Taxes.com… etc), they certainly brought attention to the auction.

I agree with what Frank has to say about the auction in regards to the limited number of .com names and two-word phrases in the list.   I don’t know if Godaddy’s auction has reserve prices, but if they do, it might be difficult to reach on a name like Bob.com, unless company CEO Bob Parsons decides to bid.   I do like the fact that the auction has a limited number of names, as it seems there is quite a bit of auction fatigue mid-way through the 250+ domain name auctions.

Aside from Godaddy’s press release, I have not seen much  publicity or hype surrounding the auction. I am knee-deep in domain activities (from the blogs to the forums and boards), and unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be generating a tremendous amount of excitement in the domain community.

As far as I am concerned, the only way to have a successful domain auction is if there are lots of bidders. Most domain auction bidders are domain investors, and they need to be excited about it to show up and bid. Godaddy should email their customers, place banner advertisements on the forums and generally get the word out. There is potential for this auction, but now is the time to get people excited about it.

Signature Auction Names
1x.com
Apartments.mobi
BargainBuy.com
BeautyCounter.com
BestPhone.com
BestService.com
Bob.com
Campaign2008.com
CollegeFootball.mobi
Dentists.mobi
DietAids.com
Earl.com
Even.com
ForeignTravel.com
Grapes.com
HDTVShop.com
Homes.mobi
HowToInvest.com
Maillist.com
Media.mobi
MobileSecurity.com
Moving.mobi
RoadWork.com
Smoked.com
SportUtility.com
TopBeaches.com
TravelUpdate.com
VirtualServer.com
WhyHybrid.com
YB.com

No More 60 Day Transfer Policy at Godaddy?

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GoDaddy May Have to Stop ’60 Day’ Transfer Policy

According to DomainNameWire.com, Godaddy may be forced to eliminate their 60 day transfer prohibition policy enacted when a client changes Whois information.    ICANN’s new advisory, in the public comment state for the next 30 days would appear to prohibit Godaddy’s policy:

“1. Registrars are prohibited from denying a domain name transfer request based on non-payment of fees for pending or future registration periods during the Auto-Renew Grace Period
2. A registrant change to Whois information is not a valid basis for denying a transfer request.”
— Source: DomainNameWire.com

I’ve always found this policy to be an annoyance.    I shouldn’t have to keep my domain names at Godaddy simply because of a change in Whois contact information.    I understand the 60 day policy pertaining to new registrations because I should register my domain names at my registrar of choice, however, when buying domain names in the aftermarket, I am not given my choice of registrar.    

Just as Andrew (the editor of DomainNameWire.com) stated, I was also able to contact my Executive Account Manager at Godaddy to request that the policy be lifted for individual domain names.    They were always willing to accommodate me, but it was annoying to have to take this extra step.

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