Several months ago I wrote an in-depth piece about GoDaddy’s new CEO Warren Adelman and his ambitions to change GoDaddy’s image. (We even offered a more conservative logo for him, reprinted to your left.)
That image had taken a beating under founder and former CEO Bob Parsons. There was the elephant hunting. The racy commercials. And the worst of all for the tech world: It’s misguided support of SOPA.
Adelman took over the reigns just as the SOPA scandal came to light — and he’s been doing damage control since. Whatever he can do to show the company is on the side of the tech world, the better.
The sexy side of GoDaddy has been a bit more of a Catch-22. Those ads are not the buttoned-up Adelman’s style, but have unquestionably driven GoDaddy’s business. From our earlier story:
“It has 53 million domain names registered and answers 10 billion DNS queries per day. It does more than $1.1 billion in annual revenues almost entirely by organic growth. There are far more Web searches with of the words “Go Daddy” than “domain registrar,” spiking at each Super Bowl.
Those ads unquestionably worked. They ran the first one in 2004, with no idea if it’d be brilliant or a colossal waste of money. But the company was paying for it out of cash flow, not venture capital, so why not? Go Daddy had 16 percent marketshare at that point, and the week after the ad, it jumped to 25 percent — and stayed there until the next year. The next Super Bowl ad got it to 28 percent share and the next one got it to 32 percent share. Even when one of the racy ads was preempted by the station, the numbers just kept growing.”
As he said in our interview, “We are going to make some changes. Stay tuned.” My concern was that trying to please both sides would leave the company with something, well, lame that pleased neither.
And now that the first of the ads have come out, and I have to admit he’s walked the line pretty well. He makes fun of the old company’s image, while he boosts the company’s tech props. He acknowledges that sex sells — and still gives guys something to gawk at — but makes clear that’s all it has done for GoDaddy, that there is a tech company behind the super models. He might be the man to save GoDaddy’s soul without crushing it after all.
Check it out for yourself below. This is the first of three ads that will run over the Summer Olympics.