Late last week I saw a post on Facebook about a video circulating online of GoDaddy’s CEO Bob Parsons shooting and killing an elephant in Africa. I didn’t want to watch the video which was described as graphic and disturbing, so I did a quick Google search and found enough articles about it to know the video was legit and the elephant episode did in fact go down. Parsons had already issued a statement to the effect of, “Yes I killed an elephant and knew it would turn into a kerfuffle, but so be it. That’s the kind of guy I am.”
As I dug a little deeper I learned that Parsons is also the kind of guy who likes ogling scantily clad women in his video blog and endorses (or at least apologizes for) torturing prisoners at Guantanamo. Because I like to give credit where credit is due, I’ll give Parsons some points for not backtracking and trying to pretend that the elephant video is anything other than what it is, or that he is anything other than an elephant-killing macho ex-Marine who thinks it’s cool to lure people to his blog with a “smoking hot crazy blond” [sic]. With those points (OK, maybe just 1) duly given, I have to say I was pretty wowed by what an unabashed creep this Parsons is.
Things got really interesting from a PR point of view when the elephant video went viral, PETA announced it was transferring all its domain names from GoDaddy, and numerous businesses and organizations called for a boycott of GoDaddy, the behemoth of domain name registrars. Then Namecheap.com had the brilliant idea to offer a BYEBYEGD promotion, slashing its price per transfer to $4.99 and donating $1 for each transfer to Save the Elephants. Judging from the comments at Namecheap’s Facebook page and other blogs reporting on the elephant fiasco, GoDaddy appears to be bleeding customers by the gallon.
The elephant killing and everything else it helped reveal about GoDaddy’s CEO inspired me to switch all my domain registrations (I used Namecheap, but others like BlueHost and DreamHost are good options too). I only wish I had done so a few years ago when GoDaddy started running those awful soft porn ads with Danica Patrick. I already had a lot of names registered with them and the hassle of doing the transfer kept me from finally getting it done, despite how icky and misogynistic those ads are. I’m just glad I now know the full story about GoDaddy’s CEO which motivated me to get off my butt.
To the readers of my books, please know that I certainly no longer recommend GoDaddy, which I’m sorry to say is specifically named in chapters that discuss domain name registration and other related services. In my most recent book, The Women’s Small Business Start-Up Kit, I actually mentioned the “sleazy ads” as a caveat to recommending this company and now I wish I hadn’t recommended them at all. Needless to say I’ll be recommending a new domain registrar at the next printing of each book!
Considering how quickly this all transpired it’s yet to be clear how many customers GoDaddy will ultimately lose; certainly it might get a boost from its target demographic of folks who enjoy big game hunting and big boobs. But despite the saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” I’d say Parsons may have just stepped in a major pile of elephant dung with this whole episode and will be scraping it off his boots for quite some time.
Also, thanks to Karim Ardalan from MIS Inc. (http://www.yourmis.com/) for the Namecheap tip.
Thanks, Peri – for not only letting people know about this, but providing a solution. I just transferred my domains using Namecheap. A wee tedious, but only took a few minutes.
The only thing most companies (and CEOs) understand is money. And, that’s the power of the customer.
I hear a lot of people are leaving godaddy b/c of this but it seems anecdotal. If there were a way to consolidate the intention of those leaving godaddy and accumulate their impact to godaddy a few key things could happen…a) seeing actual numbers of goaddy losses due to this PR nightmare would be newsworthy, further publicizing the issue, and attracting new godaddy deserters, and b) it might put more of a context and gravitas to the situation to Bob Parsons, since all this would be emailed to him.
oh wait, there is a way to achieve this…www.elephantkiller.com
I had the same idea Tom: Wanting to see hard data as to how many folks are bailing from GoDaddy specifically due to the latest event. I actually put up a survey at my Facebook page with this very question but no answers so far :/
Gawker is reporting today that 20,000 users signed up for the BYEBYEGD promotion at Namecheap so there’s a little tidbit. (And $20,000 for Save the Elephants, which is pretty cool.) http://gawker.com/#!5789153/20000-customers-stampede-away-from-godaddy-over-elephant-hunting
Moved all my domains to Dreamhost…like you, I wanted to do it years ago. It took a while to get there, but it’s done and I am happily moving on…
This was the single most disturbing act I’ve seen from somebody that I do “business” with. Last year I finally completed moving 5 clients and over 100 B2B and B2C websites to GoDaddy, never even thinking. I would not do business with somebody in person of that vulgar nature, so why am I on the web? This disgusting spectacle of a person has made me realize I need to treat my web partners as I would my neighbor hood retailer. I’m beginning the TREK again, and looking for a new domain/web hosting company. A lot of work on my part – months in fact, but the pure satisfaction I will have making a statement will make it more than worth it. What a disgusting man, if I may say so.
The more I think of it, the more upset I get. Come to think of it, I hope that Bob Parsons expires off the planet and goes to that great elephant hunting ground in the sky – where is the hunted. Yes that would make me much happier. And would make the world a better place – one more disgusting person who needs to expire or be expired. Ah, got that off my chest – now back to being professional. I absolutely love the road shot header on this blog. I’ve been staring at it for 10 minutes now. WONDERFUL, Peri!