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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

GoDaddy's Wall-to-Wall Awfulness

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Every time GoDaddy makes the news, as it has over the past week by supporting the widely reviled Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), the question naturally arises: Waitaminute, this is a domain registrar, right?

Right. GoDaddy is in perhaps the dullest business this side of term life insurance, and yet it has managed to call attention to itself many times over the years, usually by doing something "controversial." It's an obnoxious, annoying, shallow, sleazy company founded by a man, Bob Parsons, who shares all of those attributes.

What might be worse than GoDaddy's attention-whoring is the cowardice it often displays when the heat is on. In the present case, it was all for SOPA until the online uprising came, with calls for boycotts. At which point, the company decided to withdraw its support for the bill. Don't for a minute think that executives listened to arguments from the bill's opponents and allowed themselves to be convinced. That would mean the company had principles. No, the turnabout is merely a particularly clumsy attempt at damage control. One that might actually backfire, so obvious is the disingenuousness on display.

None of which is surprising when you consider the company's history, which includes:

  • Inane and sophomoric, if often effective, marketing, meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Parsons has repeatedly referred to how "edgy" his company and its commercials are, which sounds like something from Lindsey Naegle. If you have to call yourself edgy, you ain't edgy.

  • Arbitrarily yanking sites from the Internet.

    This fits in with GoDaddy's (supposedly former) support of SOPA.

    Shutting down websites can be a huge, costly deal, disrupting not only

    communications, but business. Doing it with little or no notice is

    downright awful.

  • A CEO who loves killing elephants.

    Really, if you enjoy shooting elephants, as former CEO (now executive

    chairman) Parsons (who reliably comes off as a complete jerk) did

    earlier this year, there's something wrong with you.

  • The phantom IPO. GoDaddy filed to go public in 2006, only to yank its registration soon after. Parsons explained in a particularly puerile blog post

    festooned with exclamation points that one reason he withdrew the IPO

    was because journalists kept reporting that the company wasn't profitable.

The latest entry for GoDaddy's Wall of Shame could turn out to be the charge, lodged on Monday, that the company has intentionally made it technically difficult

for people to transfer their domains to a different registrar, as tens

of thousands of people reportedly have. It's not clear yet how true this

is, but it wouldn't be surprising.

Dan Mitchell has written for Fortune, the New York Times, Slate, Wired, National Public Radio, the Chicago Tribune, and many others.

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly

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Dan Mitchell


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