Godaddy – How Bob Parsons Founded the Biggest Domain Registrar
GoDaddy (godaddy.com) was founded in 1997 as a web services company by Bob Parsons under the name Jomax Technologies. Three years earlier Parsons sold his financial software company to Intuit for $64 million. In 1999 Jomax changed its name to GoDaddy. The company started in Scottsdale, Arizona and grew to several facilities operating in Washington DC, California, Colorado, Iowa and India.
GoDaddy rose to national popularity with its Super Bowl ad in 2005 that made fun of the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction controversy. After airing once during the Super Bowl, Fox TV Network pulled the spot, due to its controversial content in which Candice Michelle had a “wardrobe malfunction.” It caused the masses to visit GoDaddy’s website to find out what the controversy was about.
Candice Michelle became known as “the GoDaddy Girl.” From this point on GoDaddy would be talked about every Super Bowl as having commercials that stood out the most. In the years that followed GoDaddy advertised on the Super Bowl and each ad led to a huge leap in market share for the domain registrar. Surpassing Network Solutions as the top domain registrar in 2005 was a major milestone for GoDaddy.
Although GoDaddy filed for an IPO in 2006, the company decided to remain private due to economic uncertainties. In essence, they avoided becoming victimized by the 2008 market crash. By 2009 GoDaddy had registered 30 million domain names. Part of how the site was able to attract so many customers was their low cost web packages that included hosting and domain registration services.
In 2008 GoDaddy began using IndyCar Star Danica Patrick in its Super Bowl ads. The result was a record setting 1.5 million visits to GoDaddy’s website, becoming one of the most effective Super Bowl ads in history. She continued to do more Super Bowl ads for GoDaddy in the years that followed. Patrick began driving a GoDaddy race car for NASCAR in 2010. That year GoDaddy continued to be the biggest domain registrar, managing over 45 million domains, which was four times more than their closest competitor. In 2012 GoDaddy appeared on Fortune’s list of top 100 “Best Companies to Work For.”
Bob Parsons stepped down from his CEO position in December 2011 and was succeeded by Warren Adelman. Parsons, who remained as Chairman, was under fire in the media spotlight after shooting and killing an elephant, which upset animal rights groups. Adelman’s term was brief and within a year Scott Wagner was the interim CEO.