How GoDaddy Lost 70,000 Customers

There is a lesson to be learned in knowing your customers, or at least knowing exactly where they generally stand when it comes to politics. First rule of business has always been to try to stay out of political discussions unless its really relevant to your customers, and if you are forced to get into a discussion, avoid picking one side over another. Godaddy’s CEO Warren Adelman learned this past week that he needs to listen more to their customers, as tons of them left GoDaddy because of his outspoken support of the Stop Online Piracy Act.

The Stop Online Piracy Act, known by its acronym SOPA, would basically allow pretty much anyone to block almost anything online based on a simple complaint from, well.. about anyone.

Many Internet companies are adamantly speaking out against this atrocity-in-the-making. An open letter was sent to congress strongly protesting this legislation. The diversity of Internet companies that were signatories to the letter shows just how serious a threat this legislation is to the Internet and online marketers.

Well, for some unknown reason, GoDaddy decided to throw in their support of SOPA along with tons of other large businesses that support this, mainly because it gives them additional unfair competition. As the internet grows, more and more smaller business and marketers are using the enormous reach of the internet to create their own content, their own marketing techniques and bypass large businesses. SOPA allows large content companies (movie studios, music labels) to basically challenge anything online without having to go to court.

Well, GoDaddy forgot that tons of their clients are those small businesses, and loads of marketers who use their domains, hosting and other services. In response, over 70,000 domains have been transferred from GoDaddy.

The lesson here is simple: Learn who your customer is, especially if you are a marketer. If you make the mistake of speaking out of turn, or offending your audience you run the risk of serious backlash. You are selling a product, not making a point, or trying to engage people outside your product sales process.

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Pace Lattin

Pace Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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  1. This is fallout from being too self-serving and not understanding who their customers are. No matter how big you are, you can’t be unfair to the “little guys” that make you successful. You can’t have it all. The smallest of businesses can learn from this.

  2. I think this is not a good info, because many internet marketer buy their domain in this site called Godaddy. as this news came many marketers will be affected.

  3. It would serve GoDaddy better to concentrate more on customer support and not on things like SOPA.

    Their customer support is dreadful!

  4. The real lesson to be learned from this is you reap what you sow. When a company chooses to be morally bankrupt – as GoDaddy has been for a long time – just watch their commercials – eventually they will do something so heinous that even those who focus on ‘cheapest’ will be moved to action.

    There is a growing awakening of people who realize we do NOT have to tolerate unethical behavior for whom money is NOT everything. We are busy sharing those insights with others who are also choosing to pay more to create a better world for all.

    Let this be a warning to each company and individual that the time to decide where you stand ethically is at hand. Failure to decide is STILL a decision – and your customer base is changing based on your ACTIONS instead of your clever media spin.

  5. GoDaddy’s CEO is often blunt, can come off as rude and often disregards customer input only to advance his own ego. Aside from that he is also a shroud business person and however well intended the decision to support SOPA was, I am sure that GoDaddy learned a valuable lesson here.

  6. I have several clients with domains at Godaddy. The question arises is it worth the time to transfer all the domains in my account. Is their a company that will stand behind all the marketers out there or are they all like GoDaddy and smart enough to keep quit?

  7. Well, I bought all my domains with Godaddy and I think they are still the number one to registered or buy a domain.

  8. Personally I will not transfer my domains to an other provider; at least not yet.

    But it is always extremely stupid to mix your political opinions with your business. And the least you could do, was to know your customers.

    I have no idea of what a loss of 70.000 costumers will mean to a large company as Godaddy. Many of those might only have bought their domain name(s) with them, and that can’t have any effect large scale.

    By the way; your CommentLuv plugin doesn’t work as it should!
    I do not get any more posts to choose from by +Google you. And tweeting or FB “Like” doesn’t either!

    Do I feel cheated? Yes you bet! 😉 :p

    No I didn’t!


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