The Internet age is here to stay, as is the freedom of speech it offers today’s user. This means that today’s corporate giant has something to contend with that it never had to worry much about in the past – the average consumer’s ability to reach what potentially amounts to millions of people with their opinions on how the business in question is doing.
This phenomenon extends way beyond the standard consumer review on sites like Yelp and Google Plus. If a company manages to inspire enough public ire – even if it’s merely temporary in nature – it now has to worry about whole sites springing up that are dedicated to criticizing its products, services, and business practices.
The ubiquitous web hosting giant Go Daddy recently had to contend with just such an occurrence — a snark site called No Daddy.
What Is No Daddy and Why Was It Created?
As is the case with any corporate giant, Go Daddy has certainly had to face its share of critiques from consumers at large and internet voices in particular. No Daddy was the loudest of these voices for quite some time. It was originally created in response to Go Daddy’s decision to suspend the registration of top security mailing list SecLists.org. This was done in conjunction with insecure.com in 2007.
However, even after the fallout from that particular issue subsided, the site remained as a place people could go to air their general grievances with the company. Naturally, customers that were unsatisfied with the quality of the service they received were eager to join the fray. Matters were only made worse by incidents such as the Bob Parsons controversy over the shooting of an elephant in Zimbabwe in 2011.
Ex Go Daddy employees that were disgruntled with alleged mistreatment eventually appeared on the community as well. These employees included Toby Harris, a former Go Daddy call center rep. Harris claimed that he lost more than $1300 in commissions because his manager at the company claimed that the quality of his calls just wasn’t up to snuff and he used No Daddy extensively as a forum on which to air his grievances. He eventually sued the company over the alleged lost wages despite Go Daddy’s claims that there was no wrongdoing on its part. Harris remained one of No Daddy’s top contributors throughout the forum’s lifetime.
Because of contributors like Toby Harris, No Daddy eventually became one of Go Daddy’s harshest critics, as well as one of the biggest snark sites on the internet. Its high web rankings only helped to contribute to the clout it had overall. Until the last week of its official existence, No Daddy continued to appear in Google’s top five returns on the search term “Go Daddy”.
Go Daddy’s Acquisition of No Daddy
Some may be wondering what exactly Go Daddy’s reaction to this might have been. Go Daddy eventually responded by actually acquiring No Daddy. The owners of the site had this to say in response to the official closure:
“What started to document the improper suspension of SecLists.Org grew to cover dozens of other GoDaddy scandals including shill bidding on their own domain auctions, improperly blocking users from transferring domains to other registrars, sexual harassment, constant objectification of women, killing elephants for promotional purposes, etc. We’re hopeful that GoDaddy’s new owners will stop these shenanigans.”
The acquisition and shutdown of the No Daddy snark forum was eventually found to coincide with a landmark investment deal Go Daddy agreed to with Silver Lake, Technology Crossover Ventures, and KKR to the tune of an estimated $2.25 billion. At the time, then CEO Bob Parsons made the decision to reduce his stake in the Go Daddy company below 50% for the first time in the brand’s history. (This was despite the fact that he remained Go Daddy’s largest shareholder.)
He also officially handed over his CEO title to Warren Adelman and became executive chairman himself. Although many attempted to find out the truth, it is unconfirmed that the acquisition of No Daddy was a result of this change in ownership. However, it is generally assumed that it played a large part in the decision at the very least.